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The Proressor Goes West 

Illinois Wesleyan University— Reports 
of Major John Wesley Powell's Explorations: 1867-1874 

Compiled and Edited 




Bloomington, 111. 


Copyright 1954 by 
Illinois Wesleyan University 

All rights reserved 
Published September, 1954 

Composed and printed by Evanston Photocopy, Inc. 
Evanston, Illinois 

Dedicated to President Merrill J. Holmes 

of Illinois Wesleyan University 

whose abiding faith in alumni — past and present — 

has made this volume possible. 



Foreword vii 


I. 1867 1 

II. 1868 12 

HI. 1869 28 

IV. 1872 63 

V. 1874 107 

Appendix 127 


Elmo Scott Watson, before his untimely death in May, 1951, had 
planned to publish this manuscript. As a tribute to his memory and 
a contribution to Illinois Wesleyan University, this book is a supplement, 
in effect, to the chapter "The Professor Goes West", in The Illinois Wes- 
leyan Story: 1850-1950 by Elmo Scott Watson (I.W.U. Press, 1950). If er- 
rors have occurred herein, I am fully responsible, at this time and dis- 
tance, for them. 

Julia S. Watson 

Colorado Springs, Colorado 
August, 1954 




"In 1867 Powell visited the mountains of Colorado with his class for 
the purpose of studying geology and so began a practice that has been 
continued by eminent teachers elsewhere," says Appleton's Cyclopedia 
of American Biography. 

The real beginning of the expedition of 1867 was more likely Maj. 
John Wesley Powell's love for the study of geology, and correlating 
scientific knowledge. These energies had been expressed in boyhood 
activities. The hardships of the Civil War, followed by a return to civil- 
ian life as a professor of geology at Illinois Wesleyan University, in 
Bloomington, in 1865 served to stimulate his desire for original scien- 
tific research. He became active in the affairs of the Illinois State Nat- 
ural History Society. Museums had scanty resources in money and 
equipment in the early postwar years. Illinois Wesleyan could not 
afford even the space to house specimens the Major had previously 
collected. However, there was space at the tax supported State Normal 
University a few blocks north of the Wesleyan campus. It was during 
1865 and 1866, then, through his professorial duties and interests in the 
community, that Major Powell began to plan for the 1867 trip. 1 

To gain funds for his ambitious project, the Major went to Washing- 
ton, D.C., in March 1867. He visited his influential friends in the War 
Department and described his plans for a field trip with some of his Illi- 
nois Wesleyan students in the Black Hills of the Dakota territory. Gen. 
Grant agreed to aid the project with an army escort and rations to be 
drawn from government posts in the region. Powell also asked for and 
received $100 from the Chicago Academy of Science; $500 from the Illi- 
nois Industrial University (now the University of Illinois) and the same 
sum from the state of Illinois, through the State Natural History Society. 

1 The Alumni Journal had not yet been inaugurated. Therefore, from 
the Pantagraph, and from material published in The Illinois Wesleyan 
Story, 1850-1950, by Elmo Scott Watson, accounts of this little known ex- 
pedition can be expanded. 


The actual cash outlay for the expedition was $2,138, Powell later re- 
ported, and he supplied his own funds where needed. Later, he esti- 
mated that if the War Department, the railroads and the express com- 
panies had not supplied him with such generous help, the total cost of 
the summer's work would have amounted to nearly $5,000. 

The 1867 party was composed of L. H. Kerrick, former principal 
of the Model School at Wesleyan, '66; J. C. Hartzell, '67, later Bishop 
of Africa; Francis M. Bishop, '70; and Martin Titterington, of the class 
of '71. In addition to these students were A. H. Thompson, the Major's 
brother-in-law, then superintendent of the Bloomington schools, T. J. 
Burrill of Urbana, a graduate of Illinois Normal and superintendent of 
schools in Urbana, 111., S. H. Huse of Evanston, 111., the Rev. William E. 
Spencer, Edward W. Spencer, and George D. Platte, from Rock Island, 
and Emma Dean Powell, the Major's wife. 

The party assembled at Council Bluffs, Iowa. While there, pur- 
chasing necessary supplies, word came from the Army that Indians 
were on the warpath in the Dakota territory. Plans were hastily 
changed and instead of heading for the Black Hills the party followed 
the Platte southward and west across Nebraska, toward the Rocky 
Mountains, traveling on horseback and in buckboard wagons drawn by 
mule teams. The students gathered many specimens and did their 
share of the hard work in making and breaking camp. The only ac- 
count of this phase of the journey is an extract from Martin Tittering- 
ton's reminiscences : * 

... a party of twelve organized at Illinois Wesleyan, at 
Bloomington, 111., to go to Colorado for the purpose of collect- 
ting specimens for museums, starting from Council Bluffs 
with mule teams. . . . after traveling several days (be- 
yond Council Bluffs), not seeing Indians nor white men, we 
came to where there was a running gear of a wagon, on the 
side of the road. When investigating we could see blood 
and hair on the forewheel, where a man had been killed and 
scalped and was buried near without a stick nor stone to 
mark the grave. From this time on to Denver at night we 

1 Information from Miss Anne Titterington of Kansas City, Mo., and 
facsimile of Martin Titterington's letter as quoted above, to the editors. 

1867 3 

stood guard, careful not to let our animals out of our sight. 
Within a short time we found where four men had built a 
sod house and were cqmmencing to ranch. One day they 
were attacked by Indians. . . . two more unmarked graves 
along the old (Oregon) trail. What a toll of human life it 
took to settle that country! We spent a month in the Indian 
country as we had to make our collections as we went 
along. . . . 

We reached Fort MacPherson on the 17th of June. This 
was the largest of the three military posts on the route in 
Western Nebraska, on the Platte. . . .we found there Gen. 
W. T. Sherman and Gen. George A. Custer with six companies 
of soldiers, on a drive against the Indians. Some four 
miles south on the headwaters of the Republican river was 
a band of Indians who had agreed to move to the Indian 
Territory by a certain date but had failed to do so. 
Sherman's purpose was to move that band as they had 
agreed. Late in the day Gen. Custer with the soldiers left 
the Fort going west 13 miles to a fort across the Platte where 
he was to meet another company from Julesburg, and the 
combined force was to go against the Indians. 1 

On July 6th we reached Denver where we got our first 
mail and ordered our mail forwarded to Fairplay, Colo., 150 
miles into the mountains. Found no food for our stock. Had 
to pay 10 cts. per pound for corn. So we moved on to Pikes 
It was from the spot named Bergen's Park that the first published 
report from the group came to Bloomington, written by J.C. Hartzell, 
but signed only J, printed in The Pantagraph of August 19, 1867: 

Bergen's Park, Colo. July 26, 1867. 

We left our (base) camp at Jackson's Creek, and in early 
morning set out for our first day's real mountain travel. 

1 In General Custer's My Life on The Plains, or Personal Experiences 
with the Indians, published in 1874 (Sheldon & Co., N.Y.) the record for 
June 1, 1867 states " . . left Ft. Hayes, Kan. to lead column to Ft. Mc- 
Pherson, 225 miles away." The next entry states " . . nothing occurred 
to break the monotony of our march until we reached Fort McPherson 
on the Platte." There Custer found a telegram telling him to stay at Mc- 
Pherson until Sherman arrived, which the latter did on the next day. On 
June 23rd, Custer is again in the field, so the Powell party would have 
seen both Custer and Sherman at the Fort during the week of June 17, 
1867, as Titterington's account indicates. 


Hitherto we had driven along the foot-hills or the valleys at 
their base, and only ventured into the mountains proper with 
mules and ponies, or clambered up their rugged sides on 
foot. Difficult as we had often found this, a new experience 
awaited us, which has made our former trials sink into in- 
significant details or commonplace affairs. 

When we left Denver, our proposed route to Pike's Peak 
was by the beaten prairie road, by the way of Colorado City, 
a round-about distance of 80 miles, but learning that 
it was possible to reach the Peak by a nearer way, over the 
mountains, into a valley known as Bergen's Park, down 
which courses one of the tributaries of the Platte, and whose 
headwaters take their rise a short distance from the base of 
the mountain itself, forming a road along its entire length of 
easy travel, we changed our course, determined to make the 
experiment. This we more readily concluded to do from the 
fact that it would give us a better chance to examine the 
mountains and their natural resources than we had pre- 
viously had the opportunity of doing. The only difficulty was 
to reach the valley, 20 miles away over a mountain range, 
averaging 1,500 feet above the base, and exceedingly rough 
and broken. Only one wagon had ever traversed it— this a 
year before for the purpose of carrying provisions to herders 
who had driven their cattle across to winter upon the fine 
pasturage of the valley. The wagons never returned, having 
been accidently burned. They (the herders) had, however, 
blazed the trees, cut down some that could not be passed, 
and partially cleared the road of brush and logs; but having 
an ox team and a stout wagon they crowded through the thick 
undergrowth of pine, poplar, and scrub oak and bumped over 
logs and rocks in a manner surely more characteristic than 
comfortable. Their trail, for it could be called nothing more, 
was a wild one for us; but our explorers having passed over 
it with the ponies pronounced it barely practicable for the 
wagons so imitating Bonaparte when about to cross the Alps, 
we said "Let us set forward." 

During the first three miles in a tortuous course toward 
all points of the compass, uphill, downhill, and sidehill, an 
ascent is made of fully 1,500 feet. Putting six mules on a 
wagon with 1,000 pounds of freight and packing six more 
mules and ponies with 100 lbs. apiece, we left one of the wag- 
ons with about 1,200 lbs. for a second trip, and started upon 


the hazardous, crooked road. It was so inclined in places that 
to our prairie accustomed eyes ascent and descent in safety 
seemed wholly impossible. Often, had not our baggage been 
securely fastened with ropes, it would have slid endwise from 
the wagon, and sometimes it seemed that nails instead of 
hoofs could only accomplish the journey. 

All hands were at work — some ahead clearing the way 
and acting as pilots, others behind "chocking" — that is, 
following with large pieces of wood to block the wheels when 
at rest. Sometimes the mules could gain but a few 
feet when, with locked and blocked wheels, the wagons were 
held till a new start could be made. Nothing could exceed 
the faithfulness of our animals as they toiled up and down 
mountain steeps. Prejudiced as any one may be with the 
stubborness of the mule, I am certain an experience such as 
ours in the long journey from the Missouri river and espec- 
ially the mountainous part of it, would change his feelings 
to admiration of their patient faithfulness and hardy endur- 
ance. Slow in gait, awkward in appearance, and unmusical 
in voice, they have, nevertheless, proved themselves our 
best friends and most devoted servants, far exceeding for 
our purpose the possibilities of the finest Arabian or the 
fleetest coursers. "Honor to whom honor is due," if he does 
bray and have long ears. 

The method of descent would be, perhaps, most novel to 
an Illinoisian. Locking the wheels so they could not turn, 
log chains were fastened about the rim in such a way as to 
slide under the wheel cutting deep into the ground or 
catching the bushes and rocks, thus retarding the velocity 
of the descent. Now add this obstruction to the law of grav- 
itation the force of half a dozen men holding back with all 
their power, by a long rope hitched to the axletree, the 
driver tugging at the reins, the mules settled back on their 
haunches, plowing the dirt with their feet, and you have the 
picture for your imagination to fill up. 

But I must omit further details. It took the entire day 
to make the two trips, thus gaining three miles by twelve 
long hours of severe labor for man and beast. That night 
we camped upon the top of the ridge in a thick forest of pine 
and fir trees. The view was the finest we had had. Below 
and eastward stretched a lovely landscape of hill and valley 
and plain, dotted by groves and checkered by belts of 


timber; far away over the dividing ridge of the Platte 
and the Arkansas, we looked with admiring gaze, and only 
turned away from the boundless expanse of beauty with a 
feeling of regret that such scenes come so seldom in a life- 
time. To the south rose in stately snow capped and cloud 
capped majesty the celebrated Mountain Knob, toward which 
we were traveling. The western horizon glimmered with 
the snowy crests of the higher range beyond us, while 
between them and ourselves, to the southwest, shot up the 
snowy pillars of Craggy Peak, in the range we were then 
upon. The North was lost in forests deep, impenetrable and 
gloomy; they yet had their attractions and perfected scene. 
At night we cut boughs from the pine trees, and, spreading 
them carefully upon the ground in the tent or open air, 
threw our bankets over them, and for the first time since 
we started with the teams, slept upon a soft bed, luxury in- 

Having gained the top of the mountain range, our jour- 
ney the next day was about equally uphill and downhill, 
winding as before, sometimes going far to the right from 
a direct course to avoid a deep chasm, and as far to the left 
immediately afterward to pass around huge masses of gran- 
ite rocks, great boulders, weighing thousands of tons, piled 
one upon another for nature's pastime. 

We took the whole load most of the way and advanced 
during the day 15 miles, measured upon the road. Camping 
again in the mountains, we quietly rested till morning. The 
next day was Sabbath, which we had confidently expected to 
pass in the Park as a day of rest; but were then seven mount- 
ainous miles away. Since starting our animals had 
fared poorly upon the scanty grass and here it was no better, 
We were obliged to move on. Weary with much labor, we 
reached our haven of rest about noon, having traveled more 
than a Sabbath day's journey over a country far more broken 
than did the followers of Moses when the law was first pro- 

The grandeur of the Rocky Mountains is in their snowy 
heights and their towering peaks, but the beauty of them is 
in their numerous parks or enclosed valleys. A few of the 
most noted of these are laid down upon the maps, and have 
been written about by those who have seen them; but nestled 

1867 7 

among the hills, reposes in beauty and fertility hundreds of 
lesser parks of which but little is known. 

The mountains are usually thought to be ridges of rocks 
barren and worthless, save for their mineral productions, 
but nothing can be more erroneous. The valley in which I 
am now writing is 20 miles long and from half a mile 
to three miles wide, then, opening into this upon the sides, 
are numerous others, each with its sparkling streams 
of purest water, its groves of trees, and broad acres of pas- 
ture land. Perhaps not less than 40,000 acres of available pas- 
ture is here spread out invitingly as rich as can be found in 
its natural state in the famous Mississippi valley. It is not so 
good for agriculture. The climate is too cool for corn — only 
the small, early varieties can be raised at all; the 
small grains on selected spots do finely, while potatoes flour- 
ish beyond parallel in the states. No irrigation is needed. Dur- 
ing the summer light showers occur almost daily and at night, 
contrary to the general belief, a heavy dew falls. The weath- 
er now is delightful. We wear our woolen clothes with com- 
fort, and at night sleep soundly under warm covering. I am 
informed that the winters are mild and pleasant, cattle are 
often driven from the plains to winter in these valleys, sub- 
sisting entirely upon grass. 

With these advantages and more, the Rocky Mountains 
must yet become a source of national wealth far greater than 
the golden sands have yielded or ever can. The land is se- 
cured by preemption, or a full title acquired under the pro- 
visions of the Homestead Law. Grazing is wealth, an income 
without an expense, and many there be who are profit- 
ing thereby; but still is there room. 

Tomorow, we start for the ascent of Pike's Peak. 
Hartzell's next dispatch was dated August 8, and printed in The 
Pantagraph on Aug. 26, 1867. 

South Park, Colorado. August 8, 1867. 

Long before daylight on the morning of the 28th of July, 
our camp in the quiet valley from which I last wrote you, 
told of busy preparations for the arduous task of the coming 
day. The lofty summit of Pike's Peak, whose bold and whit- 
ened head, defying age, rears itself heavenward, piercing the 
clouds, unshaken and unalarmed amid the terrific games of 
thunder and lightning as they chase each other in the wild 


convolutions of the elements, or rising gradually magnificent 
above the storm into the mild sunlight, calm and majestic; 
the same stern, unyielding rock ribbed and rock robed 
mountain, though monarch itself, was that day to be trodden, 
under foot of man, to assert here as elsewhere, his still high- 
er dominion. Anxiously we watched for the coming day, spec- 
ulating upon the chance of storm or sunshine, for it is only 
during the fairest weather that the ascent is either desirable 
or possible. Even under the most favorable circumstances 
it is a hard, toilsome undertaking, and the adventurer is al- 
ways liable, with but a few moment's notice to be caught in 
angry tempestuous storms of rain and hail. Scarcely a day 
during the summer months passes without them, sunlight one 
moment, storm the next. 

Eight of our party had determined to make the trial, 
among whom was Mrs. Powell. 1 She has uniformly borne the 
hardships of the trip with a courage and fortitude far beyond 
that usually attributed to her sex, but now endurance and 
fearlessness was to be put to the test, and I hasten on beyond 
the order of the narrative to say that the triumph was com- 
plete. Mounted, as usual when marching, upon her white eyed 
Indian pony which evidently is accustomed to mountain trav- 
el, she kept pace with the rest, dismounted and climbed when 
necessary and in the end bore the fatigue with hardly an 
equal. Few indeed of the "weaker vessels" have ever accom- 
plished the feat, and few ever will, till society ceases to for- 

1 Emma Dean Powell climbed Pike's Peak almost 10 years after Julia 
Holmes, of Kansas, in 1858. See A Bloomer Girl on Pike's Peak, 1858, 
edited by Agnes Wright Spring, Western History Dept., Denver Public 
Library, 1949. Limited ed. 

In The Western Mountaineer published in Golden, Colo., during the 
gold rush era, there is an account of how two other women ascended 
Pike's Peak a few years before the Powell trip. F. W. Richardson was 
the reporter for The Western Mountaineer and in this newspaper (and in 
his own reminiscences) gives a somewhat satirical story of this attempt. 
The two women are described as "denizens of Golden", and were accom- 
panied by two men companions in the five day adventure, claiming to 
have reached the summit. They were not prepared with warm enough 
clothing nor heavy enough shoes, as Richardson's story reveals, and 
were greeted upon their return to Ute Pass by a carriagefull of anxious 
friends, plied with stimulants, and recounted their "terrible hardships." 
Much merry making and rejoicing in their safe return ensued. 


fend them hearty, health giving exercises. Now, to my story: 

We were probably seven miles in a direct line from the 
summit, which, rising above the intervening ranges, was con- 
stantly in view. 

But no direct course could be traversed, and winding 
about over fallen timber — the result of fires — and jagged 
rocks, through a thick undergrowth of brush and young trees, 
up and down precipitous slopes or crossing miry sloughs at 
the bottom of the narrow ravines, we lengthened out the dis- 
tance to nearly triple its direct course, making besides due 
allowance for the excessively difficult travel. 

The mountains here consist of a broad tableland, over 
which courses at least three distinct ranges, while between 
them, at an average elevation of a few hundred feet above 
the plains in the parks, the surface is broken into deep wind- 
ing ravines and irregular mountain ridges. The latter 
are — in altitude rather than anything else — the highways 
of travel, for the valleys are usually filled with fallen timber 
and huge boulders which have rolled from the slopes above, 
or are compressed within the limits of narrow gorges, known 
here as canyons, through which the mountain torrents find 
an outlet, their rough granite walls rising almost perpendic- 
ularly from the water's edge. 

The morning light came clear and rosy from the east, and 
having partaken of our hearty though simple breakfast and 
filled our sadde bags with cold meat and hardtack for din- 
ner, we cantered gaily away, full of lively anticipations of 
the prospect before us. 

Reaching the foot of the first ridge, whose declivities were 
very steep, we dismounted, and leading our animals, toiled 
up the rugged ascent. We were 9,000 feet above the 
sea, (Wilkerson Pass) where the air becomes rarified to such 
a degree that breathing during exertion (of muscle) is ex- 
ceedingly difficult, so we were obliged to pause a few mo- 
ments very often, then pushing on again. Gaining the top of 
the ridge, we rode along its height as far as possible, then 
descended to climb another, and so on we pursued the ser- 
pentine, uneven way till about 11 o'clock, when we halted for 
a lunch for ourselves and to bait the animals upon the fine 
grass of a pleasant little valley. We were now at the foot of 
one of the spurs of the Peak itself, still, however, between 
two and three direct miles from the summit. We stopped but 
a few moments, for the day was rapidly passing away. We 


pressed on, hoping to eat our dinner upon the summit, and 
had not misfortune happened us, such would doubtless have 
been the case; but climbing nearly to the top of one of the 
peaks from which the main route could be reached, we en- 
countered what had been a great slide of rocks, lying then 
upon the inclined mountain side in rough, unstable irregu- 
larity. An attempt to cross, mules stepping or jumping from 
rock to rock like goats, falls and bruises for both man and 
beast, the snow (fields) reached but rocks continued, 
the attempt abandoned and a perilous descent began, firm 
footing at length gained on comparative safety, and a new 
place selected for the ascent — all this consumed time and 
muscle, but no enthusiasm, and halting by a snow bank hid- 
den in the recesses of the rocks we ate our simple 
fare, mounted and were away again. This time we 
prospered, and at half-past 2 o'clock picketed our animals 
upon the flat top of a high mountain, from which the snowy 
crest above us could be readily gained. This was the upper 
limit of the timber; a few dwarfed pines, the highest upon 
the mountains, furnished our camp with fuel. The snow in the 
northern ravines and sheltered places extended far below us, 
but here we found good grass and numerous flowers. Above 
us, 500 feet, extended larger rocks and snow, relieved only 
by an occasional light bright colored flower or patches of 

We found that we should have to pass the night upon the 
mountains contrary to our expectations and preparations. 
Plenty of blankets and ponchos had been taken, but insuffi- 
cient food; a little, however, remained and all determined 
to scale the summit, doing the best we could for the night's 
and morning's repast. Leaving everything and starting on 
foot, the ascent began. The day was beautifully clear, and we 
felt favored and grateful that so rare an occurrence was ours 
to enjoy. 

Among these grand old monuments of the ages, with 
a picturesque landscape of hundreds of miles in extent 
spread out beneath us, the clear, blue arch of heaven above, 
no wonder that it seemed to our rapt vision something 
like enchantment. Surely the Creator intended the grandeur 
and beauty of the world as a foretaste of the hereafter. What 
a prediction of the unknown! Eternity itself may easily seem 
short ! 

1867 11 

The conclusion of the 1867 report deals with the news item in 
The Pantagraph of Sept. 2nd that "the Rocky Mountain Expedition has 
been recently heard from. They expect to arrive home on the 16th of Sep- 
tember . ." The students did return about that date but the Powells 
lingered on in the mountain parks, gradually traveling northward, and 
reaching Denver again in the late fall, where they packed and shipped 
the specimens to the museum. On December 18, Powell was welcomed 
at the 10th annual meeting of the State Natural History Society. 

The Illinois Wesleyan "Faculty Minutes" for Jan. 2, 1868 list "Prof. 
J. W. Powell attending". He gave his lecture, "The Peaks, the Parks and 
the Plains" in Bloomington and Normal and Chicago during January and 
February. Minutes of the State Natural History Society say, "he gave a 
very interesting account of the country over which his party had trav- 
eled, its geological appearance, mineral wealth, etc., promising at some 
future day to present a full report." 1 

1 The "full report" is in the Illinois State Natural History Society 
archives at Illinois State Normal University in Bloomington, 111. 



Major Powell left Bloomington in March again, for Washington, to 
arrange for funds and army supplies. Meanwhile he had supervised the 
cataloging and display of the specimens collected in 1867 in the Museum, 
in addition to his teaching and lecturing. 

On May 27th, the Pantagraph reported: "The scientific expedition 
for the Colorado country under the conduct of Prof. Powell, having re- 
ceived the necessary appropriation from the General Government, ex- 
pects to be off sometime in early June. We hope this time the members 
thereof will bear in mind there is such a paper as the Pantagraph which 
is read by many friends of the members of the party. They slightly ig- 
nored that fact before." And on June 26: "Professor Powell informs us 
that the Rocky Mountain Exploring Expedition will start next Monday. 
The company will assemble at Chicago, preparatory to the start and a 
number of correspondents expect to accompany the expedition, so the 
public may expect to be well posted regarding its progress." 

On July 7th, the Rocky Mountain News reprinted a dispatch from the 
Chicago Republican of June 30 with the headline: "The Powell Expedi- 
tion Off For the Rocky Mountains. An exploring party of 21 gentlemen 
and 2 ladies left this city (Chicago) on Monday afternoon (29 ultimo) on 
the Omaha (railroad) for the wilds of Colorado. . where they expect to 
spend two years in an extended and careful survey. Commander and 
Geologist, Prof. Powell; Ornithologists: Mrs. J. W. Powell, Mrs. Wood- 
ward, James B. Taylor, E. D. Poston, J. J. Aiken; Botanists: George 
Vasey, M.D., Messrs. Dooley and W. H. Bishop; Entomologists: S. W. 
Garman and Mr. Durley; Surgeon, Dr. A. M. Todd; Historian and cor- 
respondent, Rev. Prof. Daniels; special correspondent, Rev. J. W. 
Healy; Topographical engineers, M. W. Keplinger, and W. C. Wood and 

1 See Notes at end of Chap. II for Illinois Wesleyan and Bloomington, 


1868 13 

On July 13, the News printed the item: "Public Resolution No. 28: 
Approved June 11, 1868, . . . that the Secretary of War ... be em- 
powered to issue rations for 25 men of the Expedition under the direction 
of Prof. Powell." 

On July 14 (a Tuesday) the News stated: "Prof. Powell arrived in 
town (Denver) last evening. His train with a year's rations for 20 to 30 
men, turned off at Church's (a ranch northwest of Denver — Ed.) for the 
mountains. He designs to rendezvous in the Middle Park and to be there 
on the Grand and Green rivers,' this fall and winter." 

On July 16, another story reads: "Prof. Powell's Expedition is en- 
camped at Church's and meanwhile many ladies and gentlemen 
connected with it are in town." The next day the News reported: "Mr. 
Daniels (the 'Rev. Prof.) of the Exploring Expedition has a beautiful 
breech loading double-barrelled shot gun made by Charles Parker 
of Meriden, Conn. The charge is enclosed in a metallic cartridge, the fir- 
ing apparatus covered from the weather and they are made to scatter 
or carry close as desired. They cost from $50 to $75." 

On July 18, the News states: "Prof. Powell's party have gone up to 
camp at the mouth of Bear Creek Canyon for a few days. The Prof, was 
in town today." 

It is interesting to note that other well known visitors were in Denver 
during this time, for Gen. Grant (whom the Major knew well) and his 
party were being feted by the leading citizens. Political feeling was run- 
ning high over the fall elections. Undoubtedly the Major and the Gen- 
eral had one or more visits, and this explains the "delays" and "back- 
tracking" between the Bear Creek Camp and Denver mentioned in the 
first Alumni Journal report later in this chapter. 

On July 23rd, the News states: "Prof. Powell has at last completed 
his preparations, bought everything he wants and this morning broke 
camp at Bear Creek and started for the Middle Park via Ber- 
thoud Pass." 

(It was August before the Pantagraph reported on the Expedition, 
and then it reprinted an item from a Chicago paper — Ed.) 

The firsthand impression of the 1868 expedition is given in the Alum- 
ni Journal, Vol. 1, 1872. 


The account is headed: "Journal Leaves from Powell's Expedition 
of 1868" and is signed by "Twig" : J 

Rocky Mountains, July 21, 1868:— This morning at last, 
we bid farewell to Bear Creek Canyon, that gate of the 
mountains with its aged keepers— our camp among the trees 
just inside the gorge through which the rapid stream poured 
like a little torrent and barely left a passage through its 
shallow waters between the main channel and the rocks, the 
green valley within, and the ledges of sandstone jutting out 
into the air and frowning down on all from above — where 
Allen showed us how he could ride his gray mustang without 
a bridle and spent the next three days picking cactus prickles 
out of the back of his unmentionables, and wishing it was as 
convenient to take off his other suit;— where Ed chilled and 
wished for his ma, and came to the deliberate conclusion 
that Dr. Vasey's dose of quinine is to Dr. Parke's as the 
Rocky Mountains are to the hills at home; — and where the 
lazy Ute went up out of the shadows of our camp and lay 
down with his head over the edge to dry himself after a 
shower, in the sunlight on the cliff, and Mr. H. wrote home 
his thrilling story of "hostile Indians watching us from the 
rocks." The last back trip was made yesterday, and this 
morning after packing our mules with the baggage and 
provisions and the few specimens we have been able to col- 
lect on the Plains and during our interrupted stay in the Can- 
on we started at last for the range — the Rocky Mountains — 
whose top was above the western wall of our picturesque 
little valley like the steep comb of some tremendous rock 
roofed shed with here and there a peak for a giant chimney. 
They seemed not more than three miles distant but were 
really 30 miles away. 

And today they seemed scarcely to get nearer though 
the deep gulches and breaks and monstrous crags which the 
30 miles smoothed over came out more and more to view, 
as we knew that we were nearer, till the sun going down 

1 The Vol.1, No.l, of the Journal begins in June, 1870. No volume was 
issued for 1871, but Vol. I is dated January. No explanation can be given 
for the delay in printing an 1868 account in an 1872 issue, except that the 
Journal had a hard time surviving financially and the editors had suffi- 
cient material for the issues already published. 

1868 15 

behind them cut their outlines so grandly against the western 
sky and we traveled on in their dark shadows to camp, as 
it seemed to us, though fully 12 miles away, almost at their 
feet. Tonight we are at a much higher altitude than this 
morning, as I could see toward evening by the broader and 
broader prospects of mountain tops and valleys spread out 
before us as we crossed the higher ridges from ravine to 
ravine, or wound along the sides of what would be mountains 
did not the main range overshadow them, and give them the 
name of Black Hills. My fingers, too, are good barometers. I 
feel our altitude in the chilly air which numbs them as I 
write; for we are up in the region of the frosts. 

We found for our camp a grassy flat up on this kind of 
shoulder of one of the big hills running down into a ravine 
covered with pines on the south and in the opposite direction 
rising by a gentle slope lighting up the groups of our little 
company as they squat around to chat and joke, and bringing 
out the dim forms of our animals, as they graze around their 
picket pins in the flat, are just as comfortable as they are 
romantic. Tomorrow night we shall camp about Empire City, 
a little town built by miners years ago, and still standing 
though its mining is no more, the last habitation of man we 
shall see, except one hunter's cabin the Major tells us is over 
in Middle Park, till we reach the Pacific R.R. late in the fall 
about Green River. We all tonight feel inspired by what we 
have seen, and more, perhaps, by what we expect to see — a 
free, let loose, grand indefinite sort of feeling. 

The scenes today have passed before me like a panorama 
and left more of an impression than a picture. I feel as if I 
had had a sublime dream and kept the sublime feeling though 
I couldn't for the life of me recall what I had seen. The 
valleys up which our unfrequented road brought us all the 
earlier part of the day, now smooth and grassy, and now 
wooded and romantic and dark, gentle and even and green as 
if nature had never given them anything but caresses or with 
their rough old sandstone, scarred and seamed and cut into 
savage shapes; and later in the day, the deep ravines, the 
towering precipices and the grander views of the main range 
and the broken fields of lesser mountain tops as far as the eye 
could reach; — all passed before me like a dream, and I could 
not take in or hold any pictures of the separate scenes as 
they crowded, one upon the other, and drove all from my 


mind — all except one. We were winding around a high point 
in the road and I was looking across the deep ravine below 
at a little milk white stream which had churned itself into 
foam down the side of the opposite hill, when Major turned 
and said: "Boys, look back at the sky!" I turned with the 
rest, and looking back toward Denver, saw a curious sight. 
The sky seemed out of shape. It stretched down too far un- 
der us and the horizon was almost at our feet; and the true 
line of the horizon, as it seemed to us, was the precise upper 
margin of a peculiar, hard looking muddy, gray cloud, which 
stretched over the whole East, and seemed fully 30 degrees 
in height, though it reached a very little way toward the 
zenith; and down through the middle of the cloud was a 
singular dark rift spreading out into numerous black lines at 
the base. 

We would reconcile ourselves to the sky, and the cloud 
seemed wrong. We would make up our minds it was a cloud 
and all right, and the sky would look more out of proportion 
than ever. So we stood, perplexed and puzzled until Major 
said: "Why, boys, don't you know the plains?" I looked, and 
all was right. The sky was as God made it. The upper margin 
of the cloud was the true horizon. The cloud was the sandy 
Plain. The dark rift was South Platte river — the sprangling 
lines its tributaries, and one our own Bear Creek. 
On August 27th, the Pantagraph re-printed the following dispatch, 
crediting it to the Chicago Journal. Since J. W. Healy was the "special 
correspondent", the description of "Camp Life in the Rocky Mountains" 
supplements the firsthand account given by "Twig," although his is pri- 
marily postcamp reporting. 

Great Bear Camp, July 24th. 1 We pitched our tents 
on the banks of the Great (sic) Bear Creek July 18, at this 
point the foot of the Rocky Mountains. We are grateful that 
Plains life is past 2 and that we are luxuriating upon 
mountain water and cooler and purer air. 

1 It is probable that Mr. Healy did not write his dispatch until after the 
departure from the camp on Bear Creek since "Twig" stated camp was 
broken up three days previously. 

2 The majority of the expedition had been outfitted at Cheyenne, Wyo., 
with horses and pack mules for the trip south into Colorado and there- 
fore would have been camping on the Plains for the duration of the 90 
mile journey to the mouth of Bear Creek. 

1868 17 

We can roll in the luxuriant grass, wander among the 
woods and dales, hunt and fish, drink from the sparkling 
streams, and sing and halloo as loud as we please, without 
seeming unprofessional. 

Our white tents dot the banks of the river. Our party is 
divided into messes of four or five persons, each mess con- 
stituting a little family, which strives to realize as much of 
home life as possible. We rise in the morning at a sensible 
hour; in turn prepare the morning meal, call together our 
messmates; eat our repast; do up our work; water and care- 
fully picket our animals; arrange our toilet and then engage 
in the business of our respective departments. Our dinner is 
irregular, as the members of the party are mostly absent in 
search of specimens. We have an early supper, take care of 
our animals for the night, spend the twilight hours in visiting 
each other's tents, comparing notes for the day, or telling 
yarns around our cheerful campfires. 

In health, we are all improving, and our hardy looks, 
bronzed complexions and full beards would make us hardly 
recognizable by our friends. 

While here we enjoyed our first real hunt, as this season 
animals are mostly in the mountains, and but few can be 
found near the plains, or on the great thoroughfares; hence, 
our hunters determined upon an expedition up into the 
mountains. Packing our animals with guns, ammunition, and 
the requisite outfit, we started. Hours were consumed without 
finding any game. At length we were electrified by the ap- 
pearance of a large and beautiful elk stag. Several shots 
were instantly fired each one being anxious to be the victor 
hunter. The shot (sic) was fatal and the noble animal stag- 
gered and fell. Each claimed the prize; but suffice it to say, 
he was proudly borne to our camp, and all were permitted to 
share in the luxury of fresh and nicely prepared venison. 

We had often heard of mountain storms, and had come, 
as we supposed, amply prepared to encounter them, but they 
have defied all our preparations. They cannot be described 
any more than can the fever and ague. Bierstadt has given 
on canvas, in his "Storm in the Rocky Mountains", a faint 
idea of one of these scenes, but it is a picture and not a 
reality. The rainy season here usually commences the last of 
June, and continues from five to six weeks, and the rains are 


a daily occurrence. For the rest of the year no rain falls. The 
snow begins to fall early in September, and continues per- 
iodically until the last of May. The rain in the mountains 
comes without a note or sign of its advent. It does not then 
rain but it pours. 

Now the skies are cloudless, and the heavens promise a 
bright and beautiful day, and in a brief hour they are frown- 
ingly black, and for hours the rain descends, as water from a 
copious shower bath, accompanied by hail as large and swift 
as bullets, causing our animals to quail before its terrible 
pain, drenching us as wet as drowned rats and forcing us to 
the nearest refuge, swelling the mountain streams into rush- 
ing torrents and flooding the plains below. The mountaineer 
soon becomes an amphibious animal. 

A brief sketch of the Sabbath, and you have an idea of 
our camp life in the mountains. In this region Sundays are no 
better than other days, and the broad church rules. This is 
true of all the region west of the Missouri. Nor is it confined 
to the red man, who knows no religious distinction of days; 
but here all men, as a rule, work Sundays as well as week- 
days. Stages run, mule whackers drive their teams, trappers 
hunt, mines are dug, stores are open, stamp mills crush 
(rock) and travelers journey. But our party, with one excep- 
tion, true to the custom of Christendom, kept a note of pass- 
ing time, and religiously kept the Sabbath. With the dawn of 
the day we gave ourselves an extra ablution (and tidiness,) 
erected a preaching tent, notified the camps and neighbor- 
ing ranches of the intended service, rang a large cowbell, 
and seated ourselves upon the grass around the speaking 
stand, and commenced a regular Protestant service. We had 
each of us a copy of the (Civil War) Soldier's Hymn Book 
and Bible, and we all participated. We sang, for the first 
time, "in the spirit" and with the understanding also that 
those familiar hymns "I Am A Pilgrim", and "I'm A Stran- 
ger", "Sweet Home," etc., were rendered more heartily 
than harmoniously. We had no long and formal prayers, nor 
cold and polished essays, but a truly common sense talk upon 
the adaption of the Gospel to the present needs, and an 
earnest supplication for the blessings upon ourselves and the 
loved ones far away. Some that day, for the first time in 
their lives, listened to a Sabbath service. 

1868 19 

The next account by Twig, in the Alumni Journal is dated as 
follows : 

On the Rocky Mountains, August 6th, 1868 :— Although 
we have been here several days, I have just gotten to real- 
ize that we are on top of the Rocky Mountains. They are 
so different from what I had imagined them to be, and from 
the mountains I saw before us day after day for weeks, and 
so often climbed in fancy. I had always pictured to myself 
a mountain range, and this one in particular, as indescrib- 
ably bare and gloomy and dark. Its sides rose up before my 
imagination as great barriers of stone. They were, too, to 
be continuous. There would be a rough exterior — crags and 
precipices and chasms — but these all would be merged in a 
system and a regularity plainly to be seen underneath it all. 
They stood up dimly before my mind as a great naked 
chain, varied by solid, and looking down with an expression 
of grandeur wholly unrelieved. 

The range, looming up before us for weeks, with its com- 
pact look and its hard polished surface of a dark, purplish 
hue, seemed to be the original of my picture, as we drew 
near and the sides far up began to bristle with the green fir 
trees, and the great irregularities came out, and our dark, 
definite range disappeared in the confusion of green and 
gray mountains hereabout. I could not help feeling that it 
would sometime come back again; and even after we made 
the ascent and fixed our camp up here, I clung, in spite 
of myself, to a kind of private belief that it was all a fiction, 
and we would yet be on the mountains we had seen. But this 
thin air up here and the wintry temperature have put me 
into a frame of mind to take things just as they are;— and 
we are on top of the real Rocky Mountains. 

The mountains as they are, are very different from the 
mountains at a distance. Distance takes miles wide of them 
here and compacts them into one great seeming range. 
That great range is a cheat, a glorious fraud. It was made up 
of all the mountains hereabout. The actual range towering 
above the rest, makes but its summit. Its huge base reaches 
out over the neighboring promiscuous mountains, according 
as remoteness destroys their separating outlines and throws 
them into the great conglomerate. 

As we draw near and see the cheat exposed, our con- 
stant marvel is how distance could have wrought such a 


miracle of deceit. The actual range is much less extensive 
than the seeming one; and there is about it a brokeness and 
a haphazard connection of its parts, which it seems impossi- 
ble that distance should have hidden and smoothed over as 
it did, till we ascend some one of the most elevated points 
about us and see the apparently disjointed parts fall gradu- 
ally together and glide off finally as one solid, continuous 
chain. Such are the irregularities on top, which hide, when 
near at hand, the system underneath. 

And then there is about the mountains a softness which 
distance does not show. Nearness displays a great toning 
down from the hard grandeur which they wear when 40 
miles away. The gradually accumulating sands have been 
everywhere forming graceful slopes which throw an unex- 
pected air of gentleness into many of the views. There is 
life in the coating of evergreens which climb their sides up 
to the timberline wherever they can get a foothold, and in 
the fresh grass of these little valleys up among the clouds, 
which refines the sternness of the distance. There is a 
sense of helplessness on the part of these great mountains 
that creeps into one as he sees the evidences of their having 
been played with as with toys, which takes away something 
of their greatness, and there seems to be a confession of 
some weakness now in the sandstone ledges and the sepa- 
rated rocks crumbling into their last remains of sand. 

Altogether, with its look of unearthly power and ever- 
lasting durability, the range is grander at a distance. 

But all the glory of the mountains has not departed. 
There is a picturesqueness in the place of the grandeur 
which is gone, which combines sublimely with the grandeur 
which is left. What strange shapes these summits take at 
at times, half hidden in a mist! How like sad spirits of the air 
these old firs nod and sigh, now in the sunlight, now in the 
shadow of a summer cloud which passes low over their 
heads! How like pleasure parks of an upper world, some 
of these picturesque scenes shut in by time-worn old 
mountain tops seem. How strange, this being up among 
the clouds! We would be filled with enthusiasm by these 
sights, were not all the enthusiasm frozen out of us. Oh! 
How I longed for the snow banks above us, as feverish from 

1868 21 

the kick that almost broke my leg, ' I looked up at them out 
of the sweltering heat of the plains. How sweet and beauti- 
ful they seemed — those ribands of snow up in the air! They 
looked too pure and heavenly for the sun to touch. I thought 
them spiritual things basking in perpetual pleasantness and 
raised above the trials of the lower world. But now how 
changed? I plunged into them when I first came up, for the 
glory of eating snowballs in August. They sent a cold chill 
through my enthusiasm, and they have been freezing the ro- 
mance out of me ever since. They are real matter-of-fact 
old snowbanks now, and they have made me as cold hearted 
as themselves. But yet, there is an elevated satisfaction, a 
high still pleasure in being among the scenes with which 
these summits and airy valleys about us are hung. 

Such are the mountains as they are, and not as they 
seem through the magical atmosphere of distance. And 
now, if we will ascend one of the higher lookouts about us, 
we shall see them go through the glorious transformation 
back again. The range glides silently away from us, gradu- 
ally assuming its robe of purple and its royal airs. The 
several loftiest peaks to the north and south of us rise sev- 
eral thousands of feet yet higher in the air and stand, 
clothed by distance in fitting regalia, as each a king of 

To the east are the mountains skirting the range, the 
Black Hills, and beyond them the gray plains sweeping 
away toward home and fading into nothingness ere they 
reach the far off horizon. To the west is the interminable 
field of cross ranges and of isolated mountains, all clothed 
in their deceitful glories. What a prospect spreads before 
us! How boundless is the arch of heaven: how perfectly 
transparent this rare atmosphere! Perhaps, as I have seen 
it, there is a surging ocean of clouds beneath us, rushing 
like a great tide toward the east; and the crags and peaks 
seem huge sea monsters plunging through the vapory ocean 
and careening towards the west— as we have seen the moon 
scudding through the clouds at night. Or, perhaps, the 

1 This detail identifies "Twig" as the Rev. Prof. Daniels, since Rhodes 
C. Allen kept a diary (now in the possession of W. C. Darragh, author of 
"Powell of the Colorado") which describes the accident to Prof. Dan- 
iels. That the writer has a poetical "bent' is also attested by several 
poems signed "Twig" in copies of the Alumni Journal. 


peaceful sunlight rests upon the prospect. A few gossamer 
clouds hang like bridal veils around some distant mountain 
tops, or sail with a lazy happiness low down over the scene. 
We have seen the mountains as they are but to turn our eyes 
away and learn how much grander they can be than ever 
we had seen or thought. 

In a few days we descend the western slope of the 
range into Middle Park. Major calls the range, "the back 
bone of the continent." If that is so, how the country 
has her back up! 

Dispatch from the Denver (Colo). Rocky Mountain News: August 14, 
1868: "Maj. Powell's expeditions arrived at the Hot Springs, Mid- 
dle Park, on the 8th inst." 

August 20, 1868: the Rocky Mountain News gives the account (which 
appears in the Sept. 1 issue) of the journey to the summit of Long's Peak 
which took place Aug. 21-23. The party reached the summit about 10 a.m. 
on the 23rd, and stayed three hours, described by L. W. Keplinger, class 
of '68, as follows: 

Although Major Powell, who had charge of the expedi- 
tion, had but one arm, he insisted on taking a full hand in 
whatever was to be done, even to loading and cinching the 
packs on the pack mules. One morning, the last time 
we made bread before making the ascent, he said, 'This is 
my time to make biscuits' which he proceeded to do. Seeing 
the disadvantages under which he labored, paddling with one 
hand in the sticky dough, I insisted upon taking his place, 
but no! The biscuits were of the variety which, when parted 
with a sharp knife, present a smooth surface, with a dark 
color and exceedingly fine grain. Candor compels me to state 
that the result would not have been materially different if he 
had acceded to my request. Before leaving the summit we 
had put one of those biscuits inside the baking powder can 
upon which we had written, 'An everlasting memento to Ma- 
jor Powell's skill in bread making.' As we were about to 
leave the summit, the Major said that he wasn't quite sat- 
isfied with the biscuit feature; it was hardly up to the dignity 

1868 23 

of the occasion. We all insisted that his true motive was his 
unwillingness to have the coming generation know how poor 
a bread maker so good a mountain climber was! But the bis- 
cuit was taken out. (Excerpt from The Trail Magazine, Jan- 
uary 1915.) 

The party which ascended Long's Peak included, besides Keplinger, 
the following: J. W. Powell, Walter H. Powell, Samuel Garman, Ned E. 
Farrell (guide) John C. Sumner (guide) and W. N. Byers, the latter hav- 
ing written a long description of the Middle Park encampment, published 
in the News, on August 20, 1868. * 

On Aug. 24, another dispatch from Byers was printed in the News, 
and by Aug. 31, the announcement was made that "Mr. Byers returned 
from the Middle Park Powell Expedition Sunday (the 30th) evening." 

On Sept. 1, the News stated: "All reports that the Powell Expedi- 
tion or any other party of visitors to the Middle Park have been molest- 
ed by Indians may be set down as false." 

On Sept. 6: "Major Powell bruised his arm climbing Long's Peak, 
Mr. Howell (Howland, of the News staff) writes us. W. L. Sumner 
(John's brother) reported a 'perfect panic' over Indians but no signs of 
the Arapahoes." 

Meanwhile the party was making slow progress toward its fall and 
winter encampment, collecting specimens along the way. On Oct. 14, the 
next item from Howland appears in the News: "Oct. 5, Bear Riv- 
er: Powell's Exploring Expedition arrived here today and will start for- 
ward tomorrow for the winter camp on White River where now a part 
of his members are. The Expedition will probably reach that point with- 
in the next 15 days and complete preparations for the winter 
quarters . . . the members of the Expedition are all in good spirits and 
are making good progress in the several departments." 

The last dispatch in the News is dated November 3rd: "Late ad- 
vices from the Powell party say they have gone into winter quarters on 
a tributary of the White river, about 150 miles west of the Hot Sulphur 
Springs in the Middle Park." 

1 For a fuller description of the Long's Peak climb see W. C. Darragh's 
"Powell of the Colorado", (Macmillan, 1951) with extracts from Gar- 
man's diary. 


The Wesleyan students returned to their classes thereafter, while 
the Powells stayed in the region. 

A letter from the Major written during the winter was printed in 
the Pantagraph, February 12, 1869, and was addressed to Dr. Edwards, 
then president of Illinois Normal University. 

White River, Jan. 26, 1869. My dear Sir:— Mr. Bishop, 
a member of my party will start for Fort Bridger tomorrow, 
and I am glad to have the opportunity to send you word of 
our whereabouts and welfare. 

We have found the winter so far very mild, so that our 
stock has fared well on grass. Have had good health, and a 
favorable time for making collections. The hunters are pro- 
curing a good number of skins of the animals of the region — 
deer, antelope, sheep, wolves, foxes, etc. Mrs. Powell has 
prepared one hundred and seventy-five birds, and I have 
made some collections of rocks and fossils. The barometrical 
and astronomical work has gone on regularly. 

The Utes often visit us (Powell had selected a camp site 
near a friendly band of Utes, under Chief Douglass, and un- 
doubtedly some of the "hunters" mentioned above were 
these Indians — Ed.) and I am preparing a vocabulary 
of their language, and have made good progress. This is the 
request of the Smithsonian (Institute). Have purchased quite 
a collection from them, articles of clothing, ornaments, uten- 
sils, etc., for our museum. In all we have had fair success. 

I have explored the canyon of the Green where it cuts 
through the foot of the Uintah mountains, and find that boats 
can be taken down. So that the prospects for making the pas- 
sage of the "Grand Canyon" of the Colorado is still brighter. 
The Canyon of the Green was said to be impassible. 1 

I hope to be out at Fort Bridger earlier than I had first 
proposed, sometime during the first half of April. 2 If pos- 

1 The Major was probably quoting from guides and Indians about the 
'impassability' of the Green inasmuch as Ashley had been through in 
1825, and Manly in 1849. Since neither of these "mountain men" 
had widely publicized their adventures of four and two decades (respec- 
tively) before Major Powell wintered in this vicinity it is unlikely that 
his informants would have access to either Ashley's or Manly' s reports. 

2 The Powells left in February, taking the stagecoach from the Fort to 
the railhead of the Union Pacific, then nearing Cheyenne, Wyo. 


1868 25 

sible I will come to Normal for a day or two before start- 
ing down the canyon. I could make the trip in ten days or 
less (to Normal) yet cannot definitely decide now. 1 

I have never experienced before so delightful a winter. 
Moderate weather, just a little snow in extreme changes; 
no rain, has made it pleasant. The grand mountain ranges 
covered with a glory of glittering snow, the beautiful valleys 
with the herds of deer and antelope coming down from the 
mountains to drink in the rivers; the subjects of study, in- 
teresting, grand and vast. All things have conspired to make 
it a wonderful winter. 

I should be very glad to have a letter from you 
next spring when I arrive at Fort Bridger. With great re- 
spect I am, Yours cordially, J. M. Powell. 

Notes on Personnel 

Rhodes C. Allen was a student in the preparatory department at Illi- 
nois Wesley an. He returned to the University to resume his studies but 
fortunately kept a diary of the summer's trip, from June 29 to Novem- 
ber 16. The original is owned by W. C. Darragh, author of "Powell of the 

"Ed" is Edmund D. Poston of Bloomington. He first entered Wes- 
leyan as a preparatory student in 1866. 

Dr. Vasey, of Richview, 111., like Dr. Parke, was widely known in 

"Mr. H." is probably the Rev. J. W. Healy, listed as "special cor- 

L. W. Keplinger graduated with the class of 1868, from Illinois 

Samuel Garman was a student from Normal. Letters from him to a 
Miss Lewis, of Bloomington, describe some of the summer's experiences, 
and are preserved in the Normal University library. Miss Lewis later 
married "Private Joe" Fifer, a Wesleyan alumnus, and later governor 

1 Presumably the Major had in mind the fact that he planned to jour- 
ney straight to Washington, D.C. to gain funds for his 1869 voyage down 
the Grand Canyon, as well as visiting in Detroit, Mrs. Powell's girlhood 
home. The trip to Normal would therefore have to be made from which- 
ever point seemed best and took a lesser part in his planning than the 
arrangements for the canyon voyage. 


of Illinois. Their daughter, Florence Fifer Bohrer, is a widely 
known resident of Bloomington, and a former member of the Illi- 
nois state legislature. 

Ned E. Farrell is described in the July 16, 1868 issue of the 
Rocky Mountain News thus: "Mr. Farrell has engaged with Prof. Pow- 
ell's Expedition. It pleases us because it does him, and because we think 
he will be of assistance in many ways. Ned is a universal genius up to 
anything from breaking a mule to inventing a 'process,' fighting Indians 
or grizzlies, sketching or writing a book." 

John C. Sumner was a brother-in-law of W. N. Byers and kept a 
"trading post" in the Middle Park. 

W. N. Byers was "senior prop." of the Rocky Mountain News. He 
had attempted to reach the summit of Long's Peak previous to meeting 
Major Powell in 1867. He and his family left Denver July 29 to join the 
Powell camp in Middle Park (says the News of that date) and "expect 
to be gone several weeks." 

By October the party consisted of Mrs. Powell, Walter H. Powell, 
Garman, Keplinger, O. G. Howland, and the four Wesleyan underclass- 
men — Allen, Poston, Durley, and Taylor. Taylor became a physician after 
graduation from Illinois Wesleyan, and in September, 1902, when Major 
Powell's death was reported in the Pantagraph, that paper published an 
interview with Dr. Taylor, referring to the 1868 expedition. The interview 
follows : 

Story of the Colorado Expedition: Dr. James B. Taylor 
of this city who was a imember of the party on the second 
expedition recounted to a Pantagraph reporter last night 
(Sept. 22) the story of the trip. He said that it started in 1868 
and was to go down the Colorado canyon. There was a party 
of 15 with him (Powell) and the party was divided into de- 
partments for different kinds of (scientific) work. Dr. Tay- 
lor, who had been working under Major Powell in the muse- 
um, had the department of bird skins. Others of the 
party were E. D. Poston, formerly of Bloomington, Richard 
Allin (Rhodes Allen— Ed.) of Decatur, Samuel Garman, who 
had been an assistant at the State Normal museum (while 
he was a student) afterwards working the same in Georgia, 
and now a professor at Harvard University; Capt. Powell 

1868 27 

(Walter H.), brother of the Major; A. H. Thompson, a young 
man named Bishop, L. G. Kiplinger (sic), a well known 
Bloomington man and now Judge Kiplinger of Kansas City, 
Kan., an editor of a Denver paper, who went with the party 
to get relief from consumption (probably O. G. Howland, 
a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, who joined 
the group during the summer, as Byers would hardly have 
been able to climb Long's Peak to "get relief from consump- 
tion."— Ed.) Major Powell's wife and his sister, Mrs. (A. H.) 
Thompson, and Dr. Vasey, now in charge of the botanical 
gardens at Washington, D.C. 

They bought supplies at Omaha and went from there by 
rail to Cheyenne where they added to their stores from the 
government post, bought horses, mules and equipment and 
went overland to Denver, then a city of only 10,000. 
They then passed west into the mountains to Middle Park 
and to the headwaters of the Grand river, going farther west 
toward Green river and the beginning of the Grand Canyon. 
There they divided for work and the actual descent of the 
canyon was made the following year. They followed on to al- 
most the extreme north end of the canyon, surveying the 
country and gathering specimens, finally camping on Bear 
river (the present Yampa) for the winter. There Dr. Taylor 
and others were compelled to leave the party and return to 
school. At this time, Bishop who had returned for mail (to 
Denver) was lost for many weeks, but finally joined them 
after many hardships. 

They saw many Indians but had very little trouble ex- 
cept on one occasion when Durley knocked an insolent buck 
down after a war dance was given for the party, but the Ma- 
jor's firmness and adroit handling of the redskins prevented 
a clash, although there was danger for weeks. x 

1 Dr. Taylor's memory — after 34 years — and perhaps an inaccurate 
reporter's efforts have combined to cloud some of the facts of the 1868 
expedition. At no time was there any real danger from the In- 
dians. Neither Allen's diary, nor Durley's diary mention the above in- 
cident. Utes and Arapahoes were on the warpath in various parts of the 
territory but no "threat," as such, was experienced in the Middle Park 
area. It is doubtful, also, that the Major intended in 1868 to "go down 
the Colorado canyon" as Dr. Taylor has reported, in 1902, but almost 
anyone who had known Powell would have been glad to have been one 
of the men who did succeed in that voyage the following year. 


The first news Bloomingtonians received of the 1869 expedition was 
given in the Pantagraph, May 24, 1869. This was the same date that 
Major Powell with his party of ten men launched their four carefully 
designed boats (made and shipped from Chicago) into the Green at 
Green River Station, Wyoming. The first portion of the Pantagraph dis- 
patch dealt with the claims of a prospector named White, who, in es- 
caping from hostile Indians in 1867 stated that he had lashed himself to 
a raft, and survived the canyon waters for some distance, approximate- 
ly to that point where the Major's first exploration would end. The con- 
clusion of the Pantagraph story stated: "... Gen. W. J. Palmer, in 
charge of the surveying expedition of the Kansas-Pacific railroad, met 
White at Fort Mojave the winter of 1867, and satisfied himself, by close 
interrogation, that it would be impossible for a boat constructed of any 
known material, upon any conceivable plan, to live through the canyon; 
and that he further formed the theory that the falls and rapids in the 
river were caused by the falling of huge masses of rock from the (can- 
yon) walls. We do not know what kind of boats Professor Powell pur- 
poses to descend the Grand Canyon; but we greatly fear that the attempt 
to navigate by any means whatever, will result fatally to those who 
undertake it." 

There were no Wesleyan students with Powell in 1869, although the 
Mayor's younger brother, Walter H. Powell, enrolled in the university 
as a freshman in the scientific course that fall, after his return from the 
Grand Canyon. He had suffered imprisonment and starvation in a 
Confederate prison during the Civil War and left the university the 
spring of 1870 because of ill health, but while in Bloomington made his 
home with the A. H. Thompsons. 

Personal accounts of the river voyage are available, in letters 
written by the Major, Walter, and O. G. Howland, published in the Chi- 
cago Tribune and the Rocky Mountain News, respectively. Journals 
were kept by the Major, Jack Sumner, and George Bradley. The latter 


1869 29 

met the Major in 1868 at Fort Bridger where Bradley was a member of 
an Army company assigned to that station. These journals are pub- 
lished in the Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. XV, 1949. 

With the exception of the Pantagraph dispatches, given later In this 
chapter, the account of the Canyon voyage is primarily related by 
Major Powell. His first dispatch to the Tribune, dated May 24, (and 
printed May 29) describes the sponsorship and financing of the expe- 
dition, inasmuch as there had been some confusion in the public mind 
about its auspices. With the fiscal data omitted, the letter follows: 
Green River, Wyoming Territory, May 24, 1869 . . . The 
railroads have shown great liberality, giving transportation 
to the party. The hunters managed the pack train last year 
and will largely man the boats this. As we float down a rapid 
river there is not much labor of rowing, they add all help 
when there is need, as over rapids, portages, etc., the other 
members of the party give their time, feeling remunerated 
by the opportunity for study, (of the country, and specifically 
for evidence of mineral wealth. — Ed.) 

The object is to make collections in geology, natural his- 
tory, antiquities and ethnology for the institutions assisting 
the work. Not the least of the objects in view is to add a mite 
to the great sum of human knowledge. Science has its de- 
votees in the laboratory, peering into the infinitesimal; on 
the observatory, keeping an outlook into the universe, and 
it has its laborers searching and exploring all over the earth 
for more facts, these characters in which the truth is 
written. Now if we can record a few more facts, and from 
them learn a lesson, we shall feel repaid for toil, privations 
and peril. 

This summer's work will be devoted chiefly to the study 
of the geography and geology of the Valley of the Colorado, 
the great canyon district, the chief of which is the "Grand 
Canyon" yet unexplored. We are provided with instruments 
for determining latitude, longitude, and altitude, and for 
making observations of the climate. 

It may be that I shall find opportunity to send you an 
account from time to time, of our progress, by hunters or 
Indians, though through a part of the country where we ex- 
pect to see no human being. After three years' study of the 
matter, I think it doubtful whether these canyons have ever 


been seen by man. The Indians never go into them, and there 
is little game on the cliffs to tempt them. They tell me that 
they never climb the peaks of the higher ranges, and never 
clamber over the cliffs of these awful canyons. Some day 
I will tell you their traditions concerning them. 

Our boats are launched and we are ready to start. Yes- 
terday we had a merry time naming them. The flag-boat, 
which is smaller than the others, and is to be the pioneer, 
being made for fast rowing is called the "Emma Dean" (for 
Mrs. Powell) .... They are all decked forward and aft, 
making a little, tight cabin at each end. Should it be neces- 
sary to run them over falls, making a portage of the rations, 
these cabins will act as buoys. The three large boats are 
made of oak, the small one of pine — the large ones having a 
capacity of 4,500 pounds, though they will not be loaded quite 
that heavily. 

We feel quite proud of our little fleet as it lies in 
the river waiting for us to embark; the Stars and Stripes, 
spread by a stiff breeze, over the "Emma Dean"; the waves 
rocking the little vessels, and the current of the Green, swol- 
len, made and seeming eager to bear us down its mysterious 
canyons. And we are just as eager to start. 

Flaming Gorge, On Green River, June 2: (from the Tri- 
bune, July 19, 1869) 

On the 24th day of May, at half-past 1, we started from 
Green River City. The rations, instruments, etc., were so di- 
vided among the boats as to have a fair proportion of the 
several articles on each. This precaution was taken that we 
might not be seriously crippled by the loss of a boat. The 
good people of the city (probably about 50 persons— Ed.) 
came out to see us off. This does not indicate that a great 
crowd came out, as the cities here lack people to 
make them densely crowded. But there are plenty of vacant 
lots yet. 

We dropped down the river about seven miles, and went 
into camp, satisfied that our boats were quite manageable 
and not overloaded, as we had feared they would be. 

Next morning we got an early start and ran along at a 
good rate until about 9 o'clock when we ran aground on a 
gravelly bar. All jumped up and helped the boats over by 

1869 31 

main strength. Then came on a rain, and river and cloud 
seemed to conspire to give us a thorough drenching. Wet, 
chilled and tired almost to exhaustion, we stopped at a Cot- 
tonwood grove on the bank and built a huge fire, then made 
a kettle of coffee, and were soon refreshed and quite merry. 

On the 26th we ran down to a point about where a cache 
of rations and instruments had been made last spring. When 
we landed it was cold and stormy, a brisk wind blow- 
ing from the mountains. The cache had been made under an 
overhanging rock near the river, where it was safe from the 
elements and wild beasts, but not safe from man; and as 
we had learned that a party of Indians had camped near it 
for several weeks, we had some anxiety for its safety. That 
was soon allayed; it was all right, and chronometer wheels 
were not taken for Ute hair ornaments, barometer tubes for 
beads; and sextant thrown into the river for "bad 
medicine", as had been prophesied. Taking up our cache the 
next day, we went down to the foot of the mount- 
ain and made this camp. 

At a distance of from one to twenty miles from 
this point a brilliant red gorge is seen, the red being 
surrounded by broad bands of mottled buff and gray at the 
summit of the cliff, and curving down to the water's edge 
on the nearer slope of the mountain. This is where the river 
enters the mountain range — the head of the first canyon 
we are to explore, or rather, an introductory canyon to a se- 
ries made by the river through the range. We have named 
it "Flaming Gorge." The cliffs or walls we have found to 
be 1,200 feet high. 

You must not think of a mountain range as a line 
of peaks standing up out of the plains, but as a broad plat- 
form, 50 or 60 miles wide, from which mountains have been 
carved by the waters. You must conceive, too, that this 
plateau has been cut up by gulches, ravines and canyons in 
a multitude of directions, and that beautiful valleys are 
scattered at varying altitudes. A mountain range is a mount- 
ain region, not a line of mountains, though such a region is 
much greater in length than in width in most cases. 

The first series of canyons we are about to explore is a 
river channel cut through such a range of mountains. The 
Uintah Mountains here have an easterly and westerly direc- 
tion. The canyon cuts nearly halfway across the range, then 


turns to the east and runs along the central line, 
slowly crossing it to the south, keeping this direction more 
than 50 miles, and then turns to the southwest and cuts di- 
agonally through the southern half of the range. This much 
we know before entering the canyon, as we made a partial 
exploration of the region last fall, (with a few of the 
'68 members, after breaking camp in Middle Park — Ed.) 
and climbed many of its peaks, and, in a few places reached 
the river walls and looked over precipices of many hundred 
feet to the water below. Now and then the walls are broken 
down by lateral canyons, the channels of little streams en- 
tering the river. Through two or three of these I found my 
way down to the water's edge in early winter, and walked 
along the low water beach for several miles, at the foot of 
the cliffs. Where the river has this easterly direction, 
there is a canyon only on the western half. Along the eastern 
half, a broad valley has been made by the river. This has 
received the name of Brown's Hole, in honor of an old time 
trapper, who once had his cabin there, and caught beaver 
and killed deer. 

June 6 — We left camp at Flaming Gorge on the 30th 
of May, and quickly ran through the gorge; then wheeled 
to the left on the swiftly gliding current into another canyon 
with a direct run of nearly a mile; then the river 
turned sharply, around the point of a narrow cliff to 
the right, about 1,500 feet high, and rolled in great waves 
back again to the west ford another mile; then became a 
quiet stream in a little valley. As this was our first experi- 
ence with canyon rapids, we called it "Canyon of 
the Rapids." 

Soon we entered another canyon in the gray rocks, and 
made a ride to the point where the river makes its grand 
turn to the east, and camped for the night. This camp was 
on the south side of the river, just opposite a dome shaped 
mountain, around which the Green makes its turn, and we 
called it "Beehive Point." Down the river the mount- 
ains were of red sandstone, and the evening sun played in 
roseate flashes from the rocks and shimmering green from 
the cedar spray and shimmered and flashed along the 
dancing waves away down the river. The landscape revelled 
in beautiful sunshine. 

1869 33 

The next day we started through what we called Red 
Canyon, and soon came to rapids, which were made danger- 
ous by huge rocks lying in the channel. So we ran 
ashore and let our boats down with lines. In the afternoon 
we came to more dangerous rapids and stopped to examine 
them, and found that we had to let down with lines and were 
on the wrong side of the river, but must first cross. No very 
easy matter in such a current with dangerous rocks below 
and rapids above. First I sent the pioneer boat 
"Emma Dean" over to unload on the opposite bank; then 
she returned to get another load, and running back and 
forth, she soon had nearly half the freight over. Then one of 
the large boats was manned and taken across, but carried 
down almost to the rocks, in spite of hard rowing. The other 
boats soon followed and we went into camp for the night. 

The day following we had an exciting ride. The riv- 
er glided and rolled down the canyon at a wonderful rate. 
No rocks in the way to stop us, we made almost rail- 
road speed. Here and there the water would rush into a nar- 
row gorge, the rocks at the side rolling it to the 
center in great waves, and the boats would go leaping and 
bounding over these like things of life. They reminded me 
of scenes I had witnessed in Middle Park. Herds of startled 
deer bounded through forests beset with fallen timber. 
I mentioned the resemblance to some of the hunters, (Sum- 
ner, Rhodes, Hawkins, probably — Ed.) and so striking was 
it that it came to be a common expression, "See the black- 
tails jumping the logs." Sometimes these waves would 
break, and their waters roll over the boats, which necessi- 
tated much bailing, and sometimes we had to stop for that 
purpose. It was thought by members of the party that 
at some points we ran at the rate of a mile a minute. 

I estimated that we ran twelve miles in one hour, stop- 
pages included. The distance was thought to be much more 
by others of the party. Last spring I had a conversation with 
an old Indian who told me of one of his tribe making the at- 
tempt to run this canyon in a canoe with his wife and little 
boy. "The rocks," he said, holding his hands above his head, 
his arms vertical, and looking between them to the heavens, 
"The rocks heap-heap high. The water goes boo-wooogh, boo- 
woogh, boo-woogh! Water pony (the boat) heap buck! Water 
ketch'em. No see'em Injun anymore! No see'em papoose any 


more!" Those who have seen these wild Indian ponies rear 
alternately before and behind, or "buck" as it is called in 
the vernacular, will appreciate his description. 

At last, turning a point we came to calm water, but with 
a threatening roar in the distance. Gradually approaching 
this roar, we came to falls and tied up just above them on 
the left bank. Here we had to make a portage. We unloaded 
the boats; then fastening a long line to the bow and another 
to the stern of one we moored it close to the edge of the falls. 
The stern line was taken below the falls and made fast, the 
bow line was taken by five or six men and the boat let down 
as long as they could hold it; then letting go, the boat ran 
over and was caught by the lower rope. Getting one 
boat over that night we rested until morning; then made a 
trail among the rocks, packed the cargoes to a point below 
the falls, ran over the remaining boats, and were ready to 
start before noon. 

On a rock, by which our trail ran, was written (carved) 
Ashley, with a date, one figure of which was obscure — some 
thinking it was 1825, others 1855. (Historians have proved it 
to be the former— Ed.) I had been told by old mountaineers 
of a party of men starting down the river, and Ashley was 
mentioned as one; and the story runs that the boat 
was swamped, and some of the party drowned in the canyon 
below. This word "Ashley" is a warning to us and we 
resolve on great caution. "Ashley Falls" is the name 
we have given the cataract. The river is very narrow here; 
the right wall vertical; the left towering to a great height, 
but a vast pile of broken rocks between it and the river; and 
some of the rocks, broken from the ledge, have 
rolled out into the channel, and caused the fall. One rock, 
"as large as a barn," stands in the middle of the 
stream, and the water breaks to either side. (Now, barns are 
of two sizes, large and small; take your choice.) The water 
plunges down about 10 or 12 feet, and then is broken 
by rocks into a rapid below. 

Near the lower end of Red Canyon there is a little val- 
ley, * where a stream comes down on either side from the 
mountain summits in the distance. Here we camped for the 
night under two beautiful pines. The next day we spread our 

1 Little Hole 

1869 35 

rations, clothes, etc., out to dry, and several went for a hunt. 
I had a walk of five or six miles up to a pine grove park, its 
grassy carpet bedecked with crimson velvet flowers; set in 
groups on the stems of a cactus that was like a huge pear; 
groups of painted cups were seen here and there, with yellow 
blossoms protruding through scarlet bracts. Little blue-eyed 
flowers were hid away in the grass, and the air was fragrant 
with a white flower of the family "rosaccae." A mountain 
brook runs through the midst, which below was dammed by 
beaver. 'Twas a quiet place for retirement from the raging 
waters of the canyon. 

Well, I am only half way down to this camp and my let- 
ter is now long : I'll write again. Good night. 

June 7, 1869 (from the Tribune, July 19, 1869) 
Canyon of the Colorado. 

On the 4th day of June we came down into Brown's Hole. 
Halfway down the valley a spur of the Red Mountain 
stretches across the river, which cuts a canyon through it. 
Here the walls are comparatively low, but vertical, and vast 
multitudes of swallows have built their adobe houses on 
their sides. The waters are deep and quiet; but the swallows 
are swift and noisy enough, sweeping about in their curved 
paths through the air and chattering from the rocks, the 
young birds stretching their little heads or naked necks 
through the doorways of their mud nests and clamoring for 
food. They are a lively people. 

So we called this "Swallow Canyon." "Stillwater Can- 
yon" was suggested as a name. Still down the quiet river we 
glide until an early hour in the afternoon, when we went into 
camp under a giant cottonwood tree, standing a little 
way back from the river, on the right bank. By night wild 
geese and ducks had been shot, and a mess of good 
fish taken. We have a good supply of fish usually, and some 
birds, though the birds are not fine eating just now. 

The next day with one of the men, I climbed a mount- 
ain off to the right. A long spur with broken ledges of rock 
juts nearly down to the river. Along its crest, or up the hog- 
back as it is called, I made the climb. Dunn, who was climb- 
ing to the same point, went up the gulch. Two hours of hard 


work brought us to the summit. These mountains are all ver- 
dure clad, pine and cedar forests are set about green parks, 
and snow clad mountains are seen in the distance to 
the west. The plains of the upper Green stretch out to the 
north until they are lost in the blue heavens, but the half of 
this river cleft range intervenes, and the river valley itself 
is at our feet. These mountains beyond the river are 
split into long ridges — nearly parallel with the valley. On 
the farther ridge to the north four creeks are formed. These 
cut through the intervening ridges — one of which is much 
higher than that on which they head — by canyon gorges; 
then they run in gentle curves across the valley to the river, 
their banks set with willows, box elders and aspen groves. To 
the east you look up the valley of the Vermilion, up which 
Fremont found his path on his way to the great parks 
of Colorado. 

The reading of the barometer taken, we start down again 
in company, and reach camp, tired and hungry, which does 
not abate one whit of our enthusiasm as we tell of the day's 
work with its glory of landscape. 

That night my sleep was sweet, under the cotton- 
wood tree. At daybreak a chorus of birds awoke me. 
It seems as though all the birds of the region had come to 
the old tree — several species of warblers, and meadowlarks 
in great numbers, with woodpeckers and flickers, and wild 
geese on the river. I reclined on my elbow and watched a 
meadowlark in the grass near by me for a time, and then 
woke my bed-fellow to listen to my Jenny Lind. A morning 
concert for me — none of your matinees. 

Our cook has been an ox driver, or "bull whacker," on 
the Plains in one of those long trains now seen no more, and 
he has learned his ways. In the very midst of the concert his 
voice broke in: "Roll out! roll out! bulls in the corral! chain 
up the gap! roll out! roll out!" with a voice like that of the 
wagon boss and night herder combined and multiplied 
by two. 

Our next day's journey was to this point, the head of the 
canyon, made by the river where it turns to the southwest 
and cuts through the southern half of the range. This morn- 
ing I climbed to the summit of the cliff on the left in one hour 
and thirteen minutes, and found it above camp 2,086 feet. 
The rocks are split with fissures deep and narrow, 

1869 37 

sometimes 100 feet to the bottom. A grove of lofty pines find 
root in fissures that are filled with loose earth and decayed 
vegetation. On a rock I found a pool of clear, cold 
water, caught from yesterday's shower. After a good drink 
I walked out to the brink of the cliff and looked down into the 
waters below. I can do this now, but it has taken two years 
of mountain climbing to school my nerves to the state where 
I can sit with my feet over the brink and calmly look at the 
water below. And yet I cannot look on quietly and see 
another do the same. I must either beg him to come away, 
or turn my back and leave. 

The canyon walls are buttressed on a grand scale, and 
deep alcoves are cut out; ragged crags crown the cliffs and 
there is the river roaring below. While I write, I am sitting 
on the same rock where I sat last spring with Mrs. Powell, 
looking down into this canyon. (Before the Powells left the 
"winter camps" on the White river, they could have reached 
this location overland in a short trip — Ed.) 

When I came down at noon, the sun shone in splendor on 
its vermillion walls shaded into green and gray when 
the rocks are lichened over. The river fills the channel from 
wall to wall. The canyon opened like a beautiful portal to a 
region of glory. Now, as I write, the sun is going down and 
the shadows are setting in the canyon. The vermillion 
gleams in rosy hues, the green and gray tints are changing 
to sombre brown above, and black shadows below. Now 'tis 
a black portal to a region of gloom. 

And that is the gateway through which we enter our voy- 
age of exploration tomorrow — and what shall we find? 

June 18, 1869: Echo Park, Mouth of Bear River. (From 
the Tribune, August 20, 1869.) 

On the 8th our boats entered the Canyon of Lodore — a 
name suggested by one of the men, and it has been adopted. 
We soon came to rapids, over which the boats had to 
be taken with lines. We had a succession of these until noon. 
I must explain the plan of running these places. The light 
boat, "Emma Dean," with two good oarsmen and myself ex- 
plore them, then with a flag I signal the boats to advance, 
and guide them by signals around dangerous rocks. When 
we come to rapids filled with boulders, I sometimes find it 


necessary to walk along the shore for examination. If 
'tis thought possible to run, the light boat proceeds. If not, 
the others are flagged to come on to the head of the danger- 
ous place, and we let down with lines, or make a portage. 

At the foot of one of these runs, early in the afternoon, I 
found a place where it would be necessary to make a port- 
age, and, signalling the boats to come down, I walked along 
the bank to examine the ground for the portage, and left one 
of the men of my boat to signal the others to land at the right 
point. I soon saw one of the boats land all right, and felt no 
more care about them. But five minutes after I heard 
a shout, and looking around, saw one of the boats com- 
ing over the falls. Capt. Howland of the "No Name" had not 
seen the signal in time, and the swift current had carried 
him to the brink. I saw that his going over was inevitable, 
and turned to save the third boat. In two minutes more I saw 
that turn the point and head to shore, and so I went after the 
boat going over the falls. The first fall was not great, only 
two or three feet, and we had often run such, but below it 
continued to tumble down 20 or 30 feet more, in a channel 
filled with dangerous rocks that broke the waves into whirl- 
pools and beat them into foam. I turned just to see the boat 
strike a rock and throw the men and cargo out. Still 
they clung to her sides and clambered in again and saved 
part of the oars, but she was full of water and they could not 
manage her. Still down the river they went, two or 
three hundred yards to another rocky rapid just as bad, and 
the boat struck again amidships and was dashed to pieces. 
The men were thrown into the river and carried beyond my 
sight. Very soon I turned the point, and could see a man's 
head above the waters seemingly washed about by a whirl- 
pool below a rock. This was Frank Goodman clinging to the 
rock, with a grip on which life depended. As I came opposite 
I saw Howland trying to go to his aid from the island. He 
finally got near enough to Frank to reach him by the end of 
a pole, and letting go of the rock, he grasped it, and 
was pulled. 

Seneca Howland, the captain's brother, was washed 
farther down the island on to some rocks, and managed to 
get on shore in safety, excepting some bad bruises. 
This seemed a long time, but 'twas quickly done. And now 
the three men were on the island with a dangerous river on 

1869 39 

each side and falls below. The "Emma Dean" was soon got 
down, and Sumner, one of the men of my boat, started with 
it for the island. Right skillfully he played his oars, and a few 
strokes set him at the proper point, and back we brought his 
cargo of men. We were as glad to shake hands with them as 
if they had been on a voyage 'round the world and wrecked 
on a distant coast. 

Down the river half a mile we found the aftercabin of the 
boat, with part of the bottom ragged and splintered, 
had floated against a rock and stranded. There were valu- 
able articles in the cabin, but on examination we concluded 
that life should not be risked to save them. Of course, the 
cargo of rations, instruments and clothing was gone. So we 
went up to the boats and made a camp for the night. No sleep 
would come to me in those dark hours before the day. Ra- 
tions, instruments, etc., had been divided among the boats 
for safety, and we started with duplicates of everything that 
was a necessity to success; but in the distribution there was 
one exception, and the barometers were all lost. There was 
a possibility that the barometers were in the cabin lodged 
against a rock on the island — that was the cabin in which 
they had been kept. But then how to get it? And the river 
was rising — would it be there tomorrow? Could I go out to 
Salt Lake and get barometers from New York? Well, 
I thought of many plans before morning, and determined to 
get them from the island if they were there. 

After breakfast, the men started to make the portage, 
and I walked down to look at the wreck. There it was still on 
the island, only carried fifty or sixty feet farther on. A closer 
examination of the ground showed me it could easily 
be reached. 

That afternoon Sumner and Hall volunteered to take the 
little boat and go out to the wreck. They started, reached it 
and out came the barometers. Then the boys set up a shout; 
I joined them, pleased that they too should be so glad to save 
the instruments. When the boat landed on our side, I found 
that the only things saved from the wreck were the three ba- 
rometers, the package of thermometers and a two-gallon 
keg of whiskey. This was what the men were shouting about. 
They had taken it on board unknown to me and I am glad 
they did, for they think it does them good — as they 
are drenched every day by the melted snow that runs down 


this river from the summit of the Rocky Mountains — and 
that is a positive good itself. 

Three or four days were spent in making this portage, 
nearly a mile long, and letting down the rapids that followed 
in quick succession. On the night of the 12th we camped in a 
beautiful grove of box elders on the left bank, and here we 
remained two days to dry our rations, which were in a spoil- 
ing condition. A rest, too, was needed. 

I must not forget to mention that we found the wreck of 
a boat near our own, that had been carried above high water 
mark, and with it the lid of a bake oven, an old tin plate and 
other things, showing that someone else had been wrecked 
there, and camped in the canyon after the disaster. This, I 
think, confirms the story of an attempt to run the canyon, 
some years ago, that had been mentioned before. 

On the 14th Howland and I climbed the walls of the can- 
yon, on the west side, to an altitude of 2,000 feet. On look- 
ing over to the west we saw a park five or six miles wide and 
25 or 30 miles long. The cliff formed a wall between the can- 
yon and the park, for it was 800 feet down the west side to the 
valley. A creek came winding down the park 1,200 feet above 
the river and cutting the wall by a canyon; it at last plunged 
a thousand feet by a broken cascade into the river be- 
low. The day after, while we made another portage, a peak 
on the east side was climbed by two of the men and found to 
be 2,700 feet high. On each side of the river, at this point, a 
vast amphitheatre has been cut out, with deep dark alcoves 
and massive buttresses, and in these alcoves grow beautiful 
mosses and ferns. 

While the men were letting the boats down the rapids, 
the "Maid of the Canyon" got her bow out into the current 
too far and tore away from them, and the second boat was 
gone. So it seemed; but she stopped a couple of miles below 
in an eddy, and we followed close after. She was caught — 
damaged slightly by a thump or two on the rocks. 

Another day was spent on the waves, among the rocks, 
and we came down to Alcove Creek, and made an early halt 
for the night. With Howland, I went to explore the stream, a 
little mountain brook, coming down from the heights into an 
alcove filled with luxuriant vegetation. The camp was made 
by a group of cedars on one side and a mass of dead willows 
on the other. 

1869 41 

While I was away, a whirlwind came and scattered 
the (camp) fire among the dead willows and cedar spray, 
and soon there was a conflagration. The men rushed for the 
boats, leaving all behind that they could not carry at first. 
Even then, they got their clothes burned and hair 
singed, and Bradley got his ears scorched. 

The cook filled his arms with the mess kit, and jumping 
on to the boat, stumbled and threw it overboard, and his load 
was lost. Our plates are gone, our spoons are gone, 
our knives and forks are gone: "Water ketch 'em. 
Heap ketch 'em". There are yet some tin cups, basins and 
camp kettles and we do just as well as ever. 

When on the boats the men had to cut loose, or the over- 
hanging willows would have set the fleet on fire, and loose 
on the stream they had to go down, for they were just at the 
head of the rapids that carried them nearly a mile where I 
found them. This morning we came down to this point. 
This had been a chapter of disasters and toils, but the Can- 
yon of Ladore was not devoid of scenic interest. 'Twas 
grand beyond the power of pen to tell. Its waters poured un- 
ceasingly from the hour we entered until we landed here. No 
quiet in all that time; but its walls and cliffs, its peaks and 
crags, its amphitheaters and alcoves told a story that I hear 
yet, and shall hear, and shall hear, of beauty and grandeur. 

June 20 (Sunday), 1869: At the point where the Bear, or 
with greater correctness, the Yampa river enters the Green, 
the river runs along a rock wall about 700 feet high and a mile 
long, 1 then turns sharply around to the right and runs back 
parallel to its former course for another mile, with the oppo- 
site sides of this long narrow rock for its bank. On the east 
side of the river, opposite the rock and below the Yampa, 
is a little park just large enough for a farm. 

The river had worn out hollow domes in this sandstone 
rock, and standing opposite, your words are repeated with 
a strange clearness but softened, mellow tone. Conversa- 
tion in a loud key is transformed into magical music. You 
can hardly believe that 'tis the echo of your own voice. In 
some places two or three echoes come back, in others the 
echoes themselves are repeated, passing forth and back 
across the river, for there is another rock making the east- 

Now called Steamboat Rock 


ern wall of the little park. To hear these echoes well, you 
must shout. Some thought they could count 10 or 12 echoes. 
To me they seemed to vanish in multiplicity, auditory per- 
spective, or perauditory, like the telegraph poles on an out- 
stretched prairie. I observed this same phenomenon once 
before among the cliffs near Long's Peak and was delighted 
to meet with it again. 

June 23, Island Park. Camp at mouth of Winter River: 
(published in the Tribune, August 20, 1869). 

When we left Echo Park on the 21st, we soon ran into 
a canyon very narrow, with high vertical walls. Here and 
there huge rocks jutted into the water from the walls, and 
the canyon made frequent and sharp curves. The waters of 
the Green are greatly increased since the Yampa came in, 
as that had more water than the Green above. All this vol- 
ume of water, confined as it is in a narrow channel, is set 
eddying and spinning by the projecting rocks and points, 
and curves into whirlpools, and the waters waltz their way 
through the canyon, making their own rippling, rushing, 
roaring music. It was a difficult task to get our boats 
through here, as the whirlpools would set them spinning 
about the canyon, and we found it impossible to keep them 
headed down stream. At first this caused us great alarm, 
but we soon found that there was no danger, and that there 
was a motion of translation down the river, to which this 
whirling was but an adjunct: That it was the merry mood 
of the river to dance through this deep, narrow, dark gorge, 
and right gaily did we join in the dance. 

Soon our revel was interrupted by the view of a cataract, 
and its roaring command was heeded, with all our power at 
the oars as we pulled against the whirling current. The 
"Emma Dean" was landed against a rock, about 50 feet 
above the brink of the cataract. The boats following obeyed 
the signal to land. The "Maid of the Canyon" was pulled 
to the left wall, where the cliff overhangs the water, and 
where by constant rowing, they could hold her against the 
rock. The "Sister" was pulled into an alcove on the right, 
where an eddy was in a dance, and in this she joined. 

I found that the portage could be best made off the right 
bank. The little boat was on the left and too near the falls 
to be taken across, but we thought it possible to take her 
down on the left. The "Maid of the Canyon" was under the 

1869 43 

cliff, out of sight. The roaring of the cataract would drown 
-any human voice, and I must get them word what to do. 
By much search I found a way along the cliff to a point just 
over where the boat lay, and, by shouting loud and slow, 
made them understand. The portage was made before dinner. 

Below the falls the canyon opens out, there is more or 
less space between the river and the walls, which is often 
covered by cottonwood and boulders; but the stream, though 
wide, is rapid, and rolls at a fearful rate among the rocks. 
But we proceeded with great caution, and ran the large 
boats together by the flag. We camp at night at the mouth 
of a small creek, which affords a good supper and breakfast 
of trout, and proceed again by stages of a half mile to a mile 
in length. While we are waiting for dinner today, I climb a 
point that gives me a good view of the river for two or three 
miles, and think we can make a long run. So, after dinner, 
the large boats are to follow in 15 minutes, and look 
out for the signal to land. Out into the middle of the stream 
we row, and down the rapid river we glide, making strokes 
enough only to guide the boat. What a headlong ride it is, 
shooting past rocks and islands! I was soon filled with ex- 
altations felt before only when riding a fleet horse over the 
broad prairie or outstretched plain. 

One, two, three, four miles we go, rearing and plunging 
with the waves, and shoot out into a beautiful park filled with 
islands; "Island Park" we call it, and the canyon above, 
"Whirlpool Canyon." 


With this dispatch the Major's first-hand reports of the journey pub- 
lished in the Chicago Tribune cease. However, the report that follows 
reveals the dramatic incident that now enters into the expedition's his- 

The Pantagraph, on June 30, 1869 printed its first story of the Powell 
Expedition, with the headline, "Reported Loss of Major Powell's Expe- 
dition: The St. Louis Democrat of yesterday has the following dispatch 
from Denver, June 28, 1869 : 

"It is reported that the Powell exploring expedition was lost in the 
rapids of the Colorado river, with the exception of one man, who has 


come to Green River City. He stated that he had not embarked with 
the party in the rapids, but followed along the banks and saw the party 

And the St. Louis Republican has the following dispatch and editor- 
ial note: "Green River City, Wyo., June 28. One of the members of the 
celebrated Powell exploring party has just reached this point, having 
escaped after incredible hardships, out of the canyon of the Colorado. 
He reports that the whole party, excepting himself, perished while at- 
tempting to cross the rapids. He had crossed above, and from the west 
bank witnessed the frightful disaster, which left him alone 500 miles 
from the nearest settlement, without supplies and almost without hope. 
Not daring to leave the stream, lest he should get lost, he ascended the 
bank at this point, the crossing of the Pacific road (at Green River Sta- 
tion) where he has received such attention as he requires. Had he struck 
across the mountains, the distance would have been less, but the risk 
was far greater. 

"The fact that this dispatch fails to give the name of the survivor of 
thp expedition leads us to hope that the statement may have been told 
by some halfstarved hunter, who wished to enlist sympathy. Undeni- 
ably, it is possible, even perhaps probable. If half the stories of the 
travelers are true, the rapids of the Colorado can only be crossed by 

The Pantagraph adds: "We confidently hope that the Republican is 
right in its judgment as to the unreliability of these reports. We know 
that Major Powell is a very daring man; but he also is a very prudent 
one full of expedients, and not likely to have perished so easily as this re- 
port would indicate. And from the disagreement between the two ac- 
counts given above, we shall continue to discredit them both until further 
and more reliable accounts arrive." 

On July 1, 1869; the Pantagraph published another story: "Major 
Powell's Expedition: It is due to the unsatisfied state of public feeling, 
in regard to the fate of Major Powell and his party, that we state what 
facts are in our possession, and thus allow all to judge for themselves 
as to the probable truth of the rumors of his loss. 

1869 45 

"Last year Major Powell organized an expedition under the auspices 
of the Smithsonian Institute as well as the Illinois Natural History So- 
ciety, and the Industrial University (now the University of Illinois — Ed.) 
for the purpose of a scientific exploration of the Rocky Mountain regions, 
as well as to obtain accurate information and specimens of the animals, 
plants, trees, minerals and fossils of that unknown country. 

"Congress aided in the enterprise by directing rations and an escort 
to be furnished the Indian section. 

"Last fall, Maj. Powell conceived the idea of exploring the terri- 
ble and unknown canyons of the mighty Colorado river. No white man 
had ever followed its mountainous banks, thousands of feet in perpendic- 
ular height and bordered with inaccessible rock, or trusted himself upon 
its boiling surging whirlpools of dashing waters. 

"With Powell, to think was to dare. The impulse to make the terri- 
fic descent was irresistible. Those who know him and his battle experi- 
ences, will recognize this feature of his character. That which seemed 
impossible to others, grew to him to be an imperative necessity. He 
must explore those awful Colorado canyons. Just at this period of his 
planning news was brought in that two white men had made an invol- 
untary voyage down the dreaded passage upon a small raft as the only 
hope of escape from pursuing Indians. One of these men sleeps in the 
Colorado's bed, while the other came through alive. This was enough 
for Major Powell. Where he had before said 'I must', he now said, 'I 

"As soon as spring opened he came to Illinois to make preparations 
for the exploration. He procured boats and necessary articles for the 
trip, and left here a few weeks ago. He reorganized his company, taking 
mostly for his companions hunters, trappers, and border men, whom he 
found on the frontier. 

"From a statement in the (Bloomington) Leader we learn that the 
names of the party were as follows : Major J.W. Powell, Capt. (Walter) 
Powell, brother of the Major, O. G. Howland, (Seneca) Howland, brother 
of O. G., Jack Sumner, William Rhodes, Billy Dunn, Andy Hall and 
George Bradley. 


"And here our information ceases (evidently the Pantagraph staff 
members did not read their rival neighbor, the Tribune, published 130 
miles north — Ed.) until the news we published yesterday reached us. 
From the tenor of that, it would seem that the descent was attempted, 
and that the whole party, save one man who remained upon the bank, 
was engulfed in the torrents. 

"The St. Louis and Chicago papers unite in expressing their doubts 
of the correctness of the report, and to their opinion we may add that 
although possible, we think it very improbable. 

"While on his western trip to Omaha, Major Powell forwarded to 
S.J. Reeder, Esq., of Normal, all his private business papers including 
life insurance policies for about $5,000. 

"Mrs. Powell is at present with her relatives in (Detroit) Michigan. 

"We give below a communication from Mr. Keplinger, who was with 
the Major last year as he was fully conversant with his plans for the 
undertaking : 

"'Editor of Pantagraph: Allow me to say through your 
paper that I discredit the report concerning the loss of the 
Powell party for the following reasons : 

" ' (1) Major Powell himself taught me not to put much 
faith in 'sole survivors' especially when they witness the 
loss of their comrades at a safe distance. 

" ' (2) The scene of the disaster is too far from the rail- 
road. I was with the Major in the mountains five months 
during last summer and fall, and know his plans for the trip 
besides. I had repeated conversations with him a few weeks 
since in regard to the same matter. He then told me that he 
would leave the railroad about the first of June, that he 
would proceed very slowly, stopping a part of every day, 
and sometimes several in succession, in order, as he said "to 
work up the country thoroughly." Now if he did this, it is not 
at all probable that he would even now be 500 miles from the 
railroad, as still more unprobable, if not impossible, that the 
disaster should occur as reported and the survivor should be 
able to travel 500 miles on foot in time to report the accident. 

" ' The Major said but a few weeks ago, when speaking 
in regard to just such accidents as the report describes, that 
he intended to fit up one of the boats as a "pioneer boat" to 

1869 47 

go in advance. When it was suggested that the pioneer boat 
might be swamped and they be unable to stop the others, he 
said "No"; he would keep them entirely in the rear, beside 
providing means for stopping them. Such being the plan by 
which he intended to proceed, it is not at all likely that the 
three boats would proceed together into the rapids; neither 
is it credible that the entire crew of the third would venture 
where both the others were lost. 

" 'As you state, Major Powell is a man of almost un- 
limited resources, and he has a party worthy of such a leader. 
If it can be possible for any man to conduct a party down 
that canyon, Major Powell will do it. Still there are impossi- 
bilities; and that the present undertaking is full of danger, 
and uncertain in result, none who are acquainted with the 
nature of the route will deny. Yet it seems to me that this 
report is just such as we might expect from some deserter 
from the party who lacked nerve to face the dangers of the 
trip, (signed) K.'" 

July 6, 1869. The Pantagraph published another story: "The Pretend- 
ed Loss of the Powell Expedition: We have no longer any hesitation in 
declaring the story of the loss of Major Powell on the 8th or even the 18th 
of May, wholly false. And as the report has produced considerable ex- 
citement here, we will give our readers the proofs which satisfy us that 
the whole story is the invention of a liar or a crazy man. And as we are 
assured by gentlemen who happen to know the man Risden, who tells this 
wild story, and who pronounced him as wholly unworthy of credence, we 
have decided that he cannot plead insanity. Risden's story as sent over 
the line of the Pacific Railroad, declared the loss of Major Powell and 
party to have occurred on the 8th day of May. When Risden arrived at 
St. Louis, the papers of that city reported him as saying in person to their 
reporters, that the disaster happened on the 8th of May; and this proved 
that the telegraph had not made a mistake in the date. When Ris- 
den reached Springfield, (HI.) he reported to the Journal and 
the Register both that the loss of the party had taken place on the 8th or 
9th. But while in Springfield he appears to have made the discovery that 
Major Powell had been heard from since that date, and he then changed 
the time to the 18th of May and so told the telegraphic correspondent of 
the Chicago Tribune. 


"But this latter date is no better than the other, for there have been 
two letters from the party received in this city since that date, and 
written by Major Powell's own hand. This has already been referred to by 
our evening contemporary (the Leader); and on yesterday we were 
shown one of the letters dated at Green River City on the 24th day of 
May and in the Major's own hand, with which we are familiar. We also 
called upon Judge McClun, who says that he has a business letter from 
Major Powell, dated he is quite sure, on the 1st day of June. . . 

"This settles the question of time. Major Powell had not left 
Green River on the first of June. 

"It will also be found that if we admit that the expedition was lost on 
the 18th of May, that Risden had not given himself time enough, since 
for the waiting by the river's side, the driving of the teams to the mili- 
tary post, the return of the soldiers sent out to search for the bodies, 
and Risden's own return to the Pacific (railroad) — not even by the 
help of the steamboat which he tells the Springfield Journal he traveled 
upon!— there is not time enough by ten or twelve days. 

"Then it is known that Major Powell did not expect to use any wag- 
ons, even if such a thing were possible, and that he certainly had none 
up to the 14th, when Mr. Moore, of Normal, returned from the party to 
his home. 

"But Risden gives the names of the party, 21 in number, all of which 
except that of Major Powell, himself, are false. 

"On Saturday last, Prof. Sewall of Normal University, telegraphed 
to a brother of Major Powell, at Peru, and received a dispatch, stating 
that the names given by Risden were all wrong, and that Risden himself 
was not known; that there were no such "Durleys" as given by Risden, 
and that Knoxeu did not go. Besides this, there were but 12 or 13 men of 
the party (actually, only 10— Ed.) and no room or use for more. Besides 
all these falsehoods, Risden has invented a geography which upsets all 
the maps. He makes rivers run the wrong way; transfers others hun- 
dreds of miles from their former location; establishes unknown military 
posts; builds a canoe which the Indians call a yawl and makes it hold 20 

1869 49 

"His whole story is a tissue of falsehoods from beginning to end; but 
what was the motive for their invention? 

"Major Powell had with him four valuable chronometer watches, 
and other valuable instruments, worth in all some $3,000; and he had 
besides a considerable sum of money. And some of the Major's friends 
have a suspicion that there may have been some kind of foul play at the 
bottom of Risden's story. If the baggage of the party had actually gone 
forward to Mrs. Powell (in Detroit) as Risden reports, it may give some 
ground for such a suspicion; but there is no other proof but Risden's 
assertion, that such is the fact. And the Col. Smith referred to in Ris- 
den's story, has made no communication on the subject, although he 
must have been aware that Major Powell was in the employ of the 
Smithsonian Institute, at Washington. Our own opinion of the whole 
matter is that Risden found himself out West without money, and in- 
vented this story to excite sympathy and raise the wind to get home. 

"P.S. — Since the above was prepared we find the following in the 
Sunday Chicago Republican: "The Detroit Post of yesterday publishes a 
letter from Mrs. Powell, wife of Major Powell, commander of the expe- 
dition, reported by John A. Risden to be lost. Mrs. Powell has been with 
the party (i.e. the parties of 1867-'68) the past two years and has recent- 
ly left. She states that no such man as Risden belonged to it and that 
the names given by him are all fictitious. The disaster is reported to 
have occurred on the 8th of May. Mrs. Powell has received a letter 
from her husband under the date of May 22nd.' " 

Also in the July 6th issue of the Pantagraph, but unsigned, was the 
following letter which in all probability was written by Keplinger. 

"Editor of the Pantagraph. Allow me once more to repeat my denial 
of the report by Sole Survivor Risden concerning the loss of the Powell 
party. Not withstanding the full particulars contained in the Chicago Tri- 
bune of Saturday evening, and the full credence which that paper gives 
to the report, his story is filled with improbabilities, impossibilities, and 
statements which I know to be untrue; and the Tribune itself might have 
known as much by referring to a letter from Major Powell which it pub- 
lished sometime since. I might fill a column with reasons for my opinion, 
but a few are sufficient. He (Risden) represents himself as having be- 


longed to Co. B, 1st (111.) Artillery, of Major Powell's command, for three 
years during the war. Now a reference to the Adjuntant General's report 
will show no such name as John A. Risden in Co. B, 1st (111.) Artillery. He 
also says he went with the party from Illinois and has been with it ever 

"I went with the party from Illinois and continued with the party until 
they entered winter quarters on the headwaters of White river, and I 
never heard of Risden until the publication of this report. He professes to 
give the names of the party. Now, I was well acquainted with nearly all 
of the party and know by a gentleman (this could have been the Major— 
Ed.) direct from the party that they were still with it up to about the 
time of the reported disaster, and not one of those names "which were 
correctly given by the leader a short time since" appears in Risden's 

As to the baggage of the party, I don't believe he had any; if he has 
he has probably stolen it to aid him in making up a plausible story to se- 
cure transportation to Illinois." 

July 12, 1869 brought the solution of the problem. The Panta- 
graph states: "John A. Risden, author of the heartless hoax about 
the loss of the Powell expedition, has come to grief, and has taken up tem- 
porary quarters in the Sangamon County jail, at Springfield, for horse- 
stealing in Logan county. His destination will doubtless be changed from 
LaSalle to Joliet." 

July 19 another story reported: "Major Powell All Right. We find 
the following gratifying statement of the safety of Major Powell and 
party in the Chicago Evening Post of Saturday; but were not able to find 
in its columns the article from which it derives the good news, but sup- 
pose it to be the Omaha Dispatch: 'At last we have the direct news that 
the sensational story of Risden was a heartless hoax, without a shadow 
of foundation in fact. Major Powell and his party were alive and well on 
July 4th, having passed the rapids of the Green River without further 
disaster than the loss of a single boat.' " 

In the same issue, the Pantagraph headlined: "Major Powell Heard 
From. Has Passed Through Four Canyons of Twenty-Five Miles Length. 
Lost one boat and half the rations. 

1869 51 

"The following letter addressed to Prof. Edwards of the Normal Uni- 
versity has been handed us for publication. A perusal of it will relieve the 
anxiety of our readers, and convince them that the Major is making his 
perilous journey with the utmost caution. 

"'Camp at Mouth of Uintah, June 28,1869. Dr. Edwards: My dear 
Sir :— The party has reached this point with safety having run four can- 
yons of about 25 miles each, the walls of which were from 2,000 to 2,800 
feet high. We found falls and dangerous rapids where we were compelled 
to make portages of rations etc., and let the boats down with lines. 
Wrecked one of our boats and lost about one-third of our supplies and 
part of our instruments. The instruments were duplicated, but the loss of 
the rations will compel us to shorten the time for the work. You will per- 
ceive an account of our trip more in detail in the Chicago Tribune, as I 
shall send some letters to it for publication. 

" 'In the wreck I lost my paper, and have to use plant driers for 
my paper. 

" 'Have not made large general collections, but have some fine fos- 
sils, a grand geological section and a good map. 

" 'Shall walk to the Uintah Indian Agency, about 25 or 30 miles from 
camp, where I shall mail this letter, and hope to get letters and 
some news. 

" 'The boats seem to be a success; although filled with water by the 
waves many times, they never sink, the light cabins at each end acting 
as buoys. The wreck was due to misunderstanding the signals. The cap- 
tain of the boat keeping it too far out in the river (this was O. G. Howland 
— Ed.) and so was not able to land above the falls, but was drifted over. 

" 'We shall rest here for eight or ten days — make repairs and dry our 
rations which have been wet so many times that they are almost in a 
spoiling condition. In fact we have lost nearly half now by one mishap 
and another. 

' 'Personally, I have enjoyed myself much — the scenery being wild 
and grand beyond description. All in good health — all in good spirits, and 
all with high hopes of success. I shall hasten to the Grand and Green as I 
am very anxious to make observations on the 7th of August eclipse. With 


earnest wishes to your continued success and prosperity at Normal, I am 
with great respect, yours cordially, J. W. Powell.' " 

The Pantagraph next printed a long letter from Walter C. Pow- 
ell, which was originally sent to the editor of the Chicago Evening Jour- 
nal, and published in that paper July 19, 1869, and in the Pantagraph on 
July 20. Capt. Powell's letter was dated July 3rd, from the camp in Red 
Canyon, and substantially repeats what Major Powell had already de- 
scribed in an earlier communication to the Tribune. "Red Canyon" was 
below the Major's "Flaming Gorge", of his letter dated June 2. 

On the 27th of July, the Pantagraph reprinted a letter from O.G.How- 
land, "captain" of the "No Name", (the boat which had been demolished 
in the rapids) which appeared in the Denver Rocky Mountain 
News, July 17, 1869, and which covered the story of the journey 
from Green River City (Station) until the opportunity to send out mail 
from the Uintah Agency put the camp "On the Green at the Mouth of the 
Uintah River, June 30." 

August 5th, the Pantagraph stated: "One of the places of deep inter- 
est at Normal is the Museum of the Illinois Historical Society, in the Uni- 
versity building. Here will be found many interesting specimens of all 
kinds from Major Powell and party, of Colorado Exploration fame. Mrs. 
Powell, the wife of Major Powell, is now stopping at Normal." 

August 27th, an excerpt from a letter from "one of the Powell Explo- 
ration party on the Colorado" was printed in the Pantagraph. No date or 
name is given for either recipient or writer, but it could have been writ- 
ten by the Major from the Uintah Agency to his wife, or his relatives, or 
to one of his friends in Bloomington. The excerpt stated: "In the evening 
some of the boys got out the fishing tackle, and soon had the bank cov- 
ered with queer looking fish — two species of them — one a sort of mon- 
grel or mackerel, sucker and whitefish; the other an afflicted cross of 
white fish and lake trout. Take a piece of raw pork and a paper of pins, 
and make a sandwich, and you have the mongrels; take out the pork and 
you have a fair sample of the edible qualities of the other kinds." (This 
descriptive item must have been written previous to July 6th, and taken 
to the Uintah Agency, since the members of the party were on the river 

1869 53 

from that date until they reached "Camp 44" Aug. 30, 26 miles above 
Callville, the end of their 1869 journey— Ed.) 

On September 10 the Pantagraph announced: "The news of the safe 
arrival of Maj. Powell at Fort St. George, Utah and the announcement 
of the success of his expedition, will be most gratifying news to his many 
friends in this vicinity. The news comes by a dispatch to his wife in De- 
troit. Fort St. George is on the Rio Virgen, near the southern line 
of Utah, and about 75 miles, we believe, from the Colorado River, the 
wonderful canyons of which the Major has been exploring. We wait 
further particulars with much interest; but this time, fortunately, with- 
out mournful misgivings." 

It was Sept. 22 before the Pantagraph reprinted the Chicago Repub- 
lican's account of Major Powell's arrival in that city. Meanwhile, 
on September 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17 the Deseret Evening News in Salt 
Lake City published accounts of interviews with the Major concluding 
with his informal address on his exploration of the Colorado River before 
"leaving the city this evening (the 17th) for his home in the East 
on the stage which leaves at 9 p.m." The Pantagraph reprinted this ad- 
dress on September 24, 1869. Since it was the firsthand account in 
the Major's own words of the canyon voyage, insofar as it was accurate- 
ly reported, the Pantagraph story is given in full: 

Sept. 24, 1869. The Colorado Canyon. Major Powell's 
Lecture Last Night. Major Powell lectured last night (Sept. 
17) in the Thirteenth Ward Assembly room (in Salt Lake 
City) to a large and appreciative audience on his later explo- 
rations of the Colorado. The lecture was a most interesting 
one, full of scientific truths and elucidations. 

There are beautiful valleys, he said, on either side of the 
Green River, and those of the Uintah and White Rivers. Soon 
after leaving these, the party found Desolate Canyon, where 
are vast deposits of sandstone and limestone. 

Our earth is a shell of solid rock, enclosing a vast mass 
of molten rock which shrinks as it cools. This acts upon the 
crust of the globe, which is like a double dome, upon which, 
there is constantly a lateral pressure, that forces up some 
parts, while others are depressed. Instead of talking geologi- 
cal upheavings, we should talk of geological subsidings, by 


which the skin of the earth is wrinkled up into mountains and 
valleys. Most of the earth is covered with water, and 
the question is, why have we oceans and seas? They are the 
result of a portion of the globe crust shrinking away from 
the wrinklings described. In these settlings we have shakings 
and earthquakes. 

He then treated on the various kinds of rocks forming the 
crust of the earth, and entered upon his description of the 
river. In it there are three great folds of rocks. If they had 
been horizontal, we should have had (layers) about 
3,900 feet, but they are folded, and in some portions 
they have been entirely washed away. 

Desolation Canyon was named for the utter desolation of 
the country. The river winds along, with lateral canyons run- 
ning down to its channel bounded by high walls. These lateral 
canyons showed the evidence of former streams, which had 
dashed down precipitous cascades; but not all is dry. 
He could look up the walls and see them 3,200 feet 
high — made by a stream that a child could throw a pebble 
over at its greatest flood; a stream dry eight months of the 
year, which carrying away a handful of sand in 24 hours had 
thus carried this valley away, into the Colorado, and washed 
it down to its present depths. These streams are fed from the 
light fleecy clouds above, which form over plateaus, 
pour their forces down, and cut them into mountains and val- 

Down Coal Canyon they found several coal deposits — 
in one place there were 13 deposits, one of them 12 feet thick. 
He then elaborated upon the nature of coal and its forma- 
tion; the plants drinking in the sunshine to give it back in the 
future ages as the heat which we derive from the coal formed 
from them; adding, a bed of coal is only one of nature's pots 
of pickled sunbeams. (Applause.) 

Passing through Coal Canyon and Still-Water Can- 
yon, they reached the junction of the Grand and Green riv- 
ers. The series of rock here are composed of granite below; 
then sandstone; then a limestone formation, then another 
sandstone not so hard nor so dark as the former, but more 
of an orange color; then came the coal formations, and then 
stones of late formations. The river in Stillwater Canyon is 
very quiet and very crooked, but about five miles from the 
junction the speed of the water is accelerated and it joined 

1869 55 

with the Grand River where the walls are 1,200 feet 
high. Here, 1,300 feet above the water, he found a series of 
(prehistoric) caves. The whole summit of the cliff was worn 
into them. The limestone rests on a bed of clay and when the 
river cut its way down, it left this portion exposed to the air, 
the walls drying and hardening until it reached the soft clay 
below, which it cut out, where the hard rock had broken and 
the foot of the rock slid out toward the river. 

At the junction of the Grand and Green Rivers, they en- 
tered the Cataract Canyon in the Colorado (River) proper. 
The fall of the Colorado is immense. While that of the Mis- 
sissippi is only six inches to the mile from Cairo to the Gulf 
of Mexico, and the upper Mississippi, considered almost un- 
navigable, has a fall of 14 inches to the mile, the river down 
which they were (now) passing has an average fall of 
six feet to the mile, with large portions of it still water. He 
explored the river in a small, light pine boat (the "Emma 
Dean") ahead of the other two, and signaled them when he 
found a safe passage. In places they had to land and lower 
their boats down with ropes. The cataracts are mostly caused 
by the water rising over obstructions in the river, and not by 
falling from one stratum to another. 

Passing the Mille-Crag Bend, they entered a narrow can- 
yon with nearly vertical walls, down which they were carried 
with dangerous velocity, making by the aid of the 
water alone the distance — 12 miles — in three-quarters of 
an hour. 

Below this the scenery was the most beautiful on 
the river; rocks and mounds, monuments and orange colored 
honeycombs stretching away two or three miles, no verdure, 
not a spot of black or green, but glittering colored sandstone, 
embossed and carved into many shaped mounds. 

Further on the formation was monumental, cut 
into shapes different from the mounds, and red col- 
ored, mingled with grey and slate colors. This 
he called Monument Canyon. Sometimes these monuments 
were set in terraces having a most beautiful appearance. 

They then ran into Marble Canyon, into the limestones 
once more. Here the fracture of the rocks was greater. The 
limestone had been converted into the most beautiful mar- 
ble of various hues and colors. The great water of the river 


had polished them and they shone in glory and iridescence. 
In examining a lateral canyon one day, he walked over the 
most beautiful pavement of marble polished to the highest 
degree of finish. 

At this point was a fall of 20 feet, with a little channel 
through which their boats could pass. They had much diffi- 
culty with eddies, but as their boats had watertight compart- 
ments, they could not sink, and there was no danger so long 
as they did not meet rocks in the way. After passing 
the mouth of the San Juan, the canyon was very deep, with 
granite walls. They found they had run into a great granite 
mountain. The canyon was sometimes polished, of grey and 
almost like granite, while marble walls were worn into great 
huge domes. The river would strike the granite, which hurled 
it off, and away it would sweep into the marble; and then it 
would rush back again with a sweep toward the granite to 
again be repulsed. Hence, its windings were great, while the 
passage through it was exceedingly difficult because of the 
rapids; at one place they found three falls in half a mile. Be- 
ing short of provisions, not having enough to last them while 
they made a very tedious portage he concluded he 
would have to run the falls. Three of his men would not go 
over the falls, but left him before the rapids were shot, hav- 
ing 125 miles to travel over a desert before they reached the 
nearest of our settlements. 1 He had not heard from them 
since, positively, but had heard that probably they 
were killed by Indians as three men were found in the direc- 
tion they had to travel. 

Below this came other falls where a portage could not 
be made. One of the boats was carried over the falls 
with one of the men in it. He told how the boat shot 
rapid after rapid and at last, when the man (George Brad- 
ley) in it had passed through death to life, he swung his hat 

1 Since this report was written by a Mormon newspaperman and pub- 
lished in a Mormon paper, the use of the word "our" denoted a Mormon 
settlement. The three men were O. G. Howland, his brother Seneca, and 
the "hunter" William Dunn. The first two men narrowly escaped death 
earlier in the voyage as described in the Major's letter of June 16 in the 
Chicago Tribune. They reached the top of the canyon safely after leav- 
ing their comrades on the river and set out on their overland journey. 
Details of their murder by members of the Shewits tribe were unknown 
until 1870 when the Major returned to the territory to learn all that he 
could about the tragedy. 

1869 57 

around his head which brought tears to the Major's 
eyes when he saw it and while telling it, and drew 
hearty plaudits from the audience. 

The region of this continent, last to be explored, 
had been densely inhabited. The remains of villages exist all 
along the banks, evidently the work of the Mo- 
qui, whose characteristics were described. 

The great canyon was worn by the water the same as the 
little canyons (already) spoken of. The waters of this region 
fall on the crests of the "Great Rockies" the mountains of 
the Wind River, White River, Uintah and other chains (of 
rivers). In the Mississippi, there is a valley much larger, but 
the rains have been sufficient to make by the lateral erosion, 
a valley instead of a canyon. The Colorado Canyon is 
the grandest illustration in the world of the least possible ero- 
sion of the water. 

Speaking of the clouds which supply these waters, 
he said: "The beautiful clouds! They have carved out 
the mountains! They give us the beauty of the heavens; they 
give us all that is sublime and beautiful, for without them 
there would be no mountains that are grand, no landscape 
that is beautiful" an apostrophe he fully sustained by scien- 
tific argument. Forty-eight hours after the men left him (the 
Howlands and Dunn) his party emerged from a long jour- 
ney of days after days, where they could see only a narrow 
strip of the heavens, into a valley which he named Spanish 
Valley. Here he camped, rested and rejoiced. 

A vote of thanks to the gallant lecturer was proposed by 
Hon. (alderman) S. W. Richards, seconded by Mar- 
shall J. D. T. McAllister, (of Salt Lake City— Ed.) and car- 
ried by acclamation. 
Of final interest in the 1869 expedition is the account of the Chicago 
Republican interview of Sept. 21, reprinted in the Pantagraph the next 
day. "Major Powell of the celebrated Colorado expedition, arrived at the 
Tremont last night, direct from the scenes of his great exploits and dis- 
coveries. Six (four) of his party left him at the Canyon of the Colorado 
(at Fort St. George) whence they started for California. The expedition 
was very successful. Some 700 or 800 miles of canyon on the Green and 
Colorado rivers have been explored. The dangers hazarded were numer- 
ous, and when the expedition got through, it had very little of the prop- 


erty with which it set out. No lives, however, were lost. (There was still 
a chance that the Howlands and Dunn were alive — Ed.) Some time ago 
three of the party abandoned the expedition and started for home. As 
they have not been heard from since it is supposed they have been mur- 
dered by the Indians. They had a portion of the topographical records 
which, of course, must have met the same fate as the three miss- 
ing men. Major Powell discredits the narrative of the passage of the Col- 
orado published a short time ago in Lippincott's Magazine, descriptive 
of the trip of one James White, who alleges he went through the great can- 

"The Major knows nothing whatever of the celebrated Risden, 
who achieved a short-lived notoriety by claiming to have witnessed the 
destruction of the expedition in the Colorado rapids, and whose fame was 
cut short in a very summary manner by an arrest for horse-stealing. The 
Major has returned with many valuable facts relating to a country pre- 
viously unknown, and portions of which were probably never before 
pressed by the feet of white men." 

The last individual to achieve publicity as an "explorer" of the 
Grand Canyon the summer of 1869 was Samuel Adams, whose story the 
Pantagraph published on Sept. 23, although it was taken from the Oma- 
ha Republican of the "10th inst." and appeared (in part) in the Deseret 
Evening News, Sept. 10 after originally being printed in the Cheyenne 
(Wyo.) Leader earlier that same week. Although there was no collabora- 
tion between Powell and Adams, the parallel conditions were in correla- 
tion throughout as witness the account published by the Republi- 
can: "Letter from a government explorer. Descent of The Rapids — 5,000 
feet in 100 Miles" was the headline. And the Pantagraph there- 
upon picked up the story as follows : 

"The Omaha Republican of the 10 inst., publishes a letter from Sam- 
uel Adams, who has been in the service of the War Department for the 
last four years 1 in making an exploration of the Colorado River and 
the region contiguous to that river, and lying west of the Rocky Mount- 
ains. The following extracts from his letter will be of interest. 

1 Major Powell had been subsidized by the War Department for the 
1867, '68, and '69 expeditions. 

1869 59 

"'My exploring party of 11 men 1 with four boats constructed on 
the Blue River 2 left a point on that stream eight miles from the main 
divide or summit of the Rocky Mountains, July 12, 1869, for the purpose 
of descending that stream to the Grand (the main tributary of the Col- 
orado) to a point on the Colorado River, where I had ascended from the 
Gulf of California over three years since, the facts of which were given 
in my published report to the Secretary of War and published in the New 
York Tribune and other papers of the East and West. 3 For the first 
hundred miles after starting, I found the descent of the river to be 5,000 
feet. The Rocky and Cave Canyons of the Blue and the Grand and Swift 
Canyons of the Grand River, I found to be much swifter and much more 
dangerous than the Mojave, Painted, Long, Black and Big Canyons of the 
Colorado, through all of which I have ascended and descended several 
times, within the last three years. A description of the current, depth, 
and length of the canyons, etc. I gave in my published report. 

" 'Where I left the river last to the Gulf of California, a distance of 
about 1,100 miles, the descent of water cannot be over 500 feet or less 
than five feet the mile, thus substantiating the statement made in my 
first report. In descending through a succession of rapid canyons I lost 
all my boats, instruments, maps, etc. 4 The instruments were replaced, 

1 Major Powell's party consisted of ten men. 

2 Major Powell had four boats shipped from their construction point in 
Chicago to Green River, Wyo. where his voyage commenced. The Blue 
River rises in western Colorado, flows into the Gunnison River 
and thence into the Grand and Colorado. 

3 Government survey parties of army engineers had been working in 
the area around the Gulf of California for several years prior to Powell's 
navigation of the Colorado. In fact, navigation was possible from the Gulf 
as far as Callville. A regular ascent of the Colorado from Fort Mojave 
to Callville was conducted by a small fleet of boats. It is possible Adams 
was a guide for one or more of the army survey parties and thus knew 
general facts about the river. 

4 The Major lost one boat containing instruments and valuable supplies 
soon after leaving Green River. Adams does not describe how his instru- 
ments were "replaced," possibly because procuring more from eastern 
manufacturers involved a return to civilization, ordering duplicates and 
awaiting shipment, all of which Powell contemplated the night the "No 
Name" was wrecked. 


when, with my companions, two men, 1 I proceeded upon a cedar raft. 
This was broken up and all provisions lost, except four day's rations. 2 
" 'For 75 miles the fall of water would average 70 feet to the mile; in 
some places 300 to the mile. While this was a source of satisfac- 
tion to myself 3 and on an additional assurance that the fall of water must 
necessarily be less below, it was a source of alarm to the balance of my 
party who left me in Rocky Cave Canyon. In these canyons the perpen- 
dicular walls arose from 800 to 1,800 feet. 

" 'In descending the river upon our raft as well as for 75 miles above 
where we constructed it 4 we passed through a succession of val- 
leys from one mile to 50 in length, where we unexpectedly found 
wild oats, wheat, rye, barley, timothy and clover growing spontaneously, 
while the fine cedar and oak timber increased in size. The mineral re- 
sources we found to be of the most flattering character. Time will not 
permit me to enter into a full description of these or the superior 
facilities for making them available. Soon the public will know and ap- 
preciate the facts and the press of the East will no longer be led astray 
by descriptions of the canyons of the Colorado given by a recent explorer 
in this, the eleventh hour, whose vision was so remarkably acute that at 
the distance of 300 miles he could see the canyons of the Colorado in all 
their length and depth, and whose letters stated that he was the first to 
ascend the summit of Long's Peak when it is a matter of public notoriety 
that women and men have gone before him for the last 10 years, the day 

1 Here Adams allies himself with the adventures of James White, but 
does not reveal what happened to the other eight men of his original 
party of eleven. 

2 In the Major's account, he stated that during the last five days on the 
river there was barely enough left of their rations to sustain life. 

3 Why it was a "source of satisfaction" Adams does not say. Powell's 
record shows that his method of recording data revealed some 476 bad 
rapids and approximately 62 portages from the Uintah to the mouth of 
the Virgen. At the rate of 300 feet to the mile two men on a cedar raft 
would have a precarious speed, to say the least. 

* Adams gives no details which could be corroborated — a rather 
strange fact for one familiar with making official reports to the Secretary 
of War. 

1869 61 

and date of whose ascent was marked upon the place of his triumph 1 . . 
Respectfully yours, Samuel Adams." 

Major Powell lectured upon his canyon voyage during the winter and 
early spring in Bloomington, Normal, Hennepin and Chicago. His routine 
work consisted of the secretaryship of the Illinois State Natural History 
Society and the curatorship of its museum. He had received a temporary 
leave of absence from Illinois Wesleyan University some time previous, 
but this became a permanent one as he developed his explorations. In the 
early spring of 1870 he journeyed again to Washington to seek funds for 
his land expeditions later in that year and in 1871. 

A. H. Thompson, of Bloomington, the Major's brother-in-law, was 
engaged to prepare a base map from the 1869 data. In the early summer 
the Major went on to Salt Lake City to organize a small field party and 
to learn, if possible, the fate of the Howlands and William Dunn. Walter 
H. Graves, a Wesleyan sophomore, and Francis Marion Bishop, a 
June, 1870, graduate, were engaged to meet the Major in Salt Lake City 
in August. They went with him into the Kanab region to begin their top- 
ographical work. Jacob Hamblin, a widely known Mormon guide and In- 
dian interpreter, was the official scout for the Major's party. He and Ma- 
jor Powell were successful in hearing how the Howlands and Dunn were 
murdered by the Shewits Indians in retaliation for alleged brutalities in- 
flicted by unknown whites upon some of the tribe at an earlier date. 

The best accounts of the 1870-'71 explorations are available in Utah 
Historical Society publications, including the diaries of A. H. Thompson 
and F. M. Bishop. Graves returned to Wesleyan and graduated in 1874. 
Later notes in the Alumni Journal give news of their activities in con- 
nection with the Powell expeditions. 

In addition, Bishop wrote four interesting letters to the Pantagraph 
dated in June, 1871, August, 1871, and January and February, 1872. In 

1 Adams does not say who 'his' might be — possibly his own, although 
nothing was recorded if he had succeeded in climbing Long's Peak pre- 
vious to Powell's ascent in 1868 with Byers and others. Nor has history 
borne out being 'led astray' by Powell's descriptions and scientific data, 
while Adams' lack of detailed information leads the reader to suspect 
that he was attempting to hoax newspaper editors of that day. 


none of them does he mention a fact of vital interest to Major Powell, 
except to state that "At Uintah the Major found it necessary to go to Salt 
Lake City 

Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Thompson were in Salt Lake City the sum- 
mer of 1871, and the Salt Lake Herald, for September 9, printed the fol- 
lowing: "Birth: Major Powell, of Colorado fame, now south on his ex- 
plorations was made a father for the first time last night by Mrs. Powell 
giving birth to a fine girl at 10:00 p.m. Mother and child are doing well. 
We congratulate the gallant Major." 

In December, Mrs. Powell joined the Major at his base camp near 
Kanab, and in February, 1872 they left for Washington, D.C., where the 
Major was to make his home thereafter. He carried on his explorations 
for some years, was director of the Bureau of Ethnology and later of the 
United States Geographical Survey. 


The Alumni Journal for July, 1872 carried the following items: 
"While in the midst of the exercises of the Commencement Day, 
we were both surprised and gratified to see the familiar face of Major 
J. W. Powell enter the door. While the Band favored the audience with 
music, the major in company with his friend Rev. Mr. Baily, President 
of Blackburn College, was escorted to the stage where he was cordially 
received by his friends and co-laborers of the 'by-gone' years. The Ma- 
jor looks hale and hearty and seemingly is good for a century's labor, 
among the wild excitement and hardships of frontier life. He re- 
turns early in July to his field of labor in Colorado, his 'Head-Quarters' 
being at present at Kanab." 

On the same page, the Journal reported: 'Prof. H. C. DeMotte of 
the University, whose name is familiar to the readers of the Journal, is 
anticipating a trip to the 'Far West' this summer. Ere this note is read 
by our patrons he will be among the Rocky Mountains. He accepts the 
invitation given him by Major Powell to spend his vacation with 
the Powell Expedition. He goes to assist in determining the latitude and 
longitude of the 'Base Line' of the survey, and will probably remain long 
enough to assist in some of the triangulation. It is his intention at pres- 
ent to return in time to take his accustomed place in the schoolroom at 
the beginning of the Fall Term. We shall be pleased if the Professor will 
give us a few 'jottings by the way' for our August number." 

But it was November, 1873 before the Journal carried the first ac- 
count (in chronological order — Ed.) of the Professor's trip West. It was 
titled "OutWard Bound", and follows: 

During the summer of 1872, through the kindness of Ma- 
jor J. W. Powell of the "Powell and Thompson Colorado Ex- 
ploring Expeditions", the writer of these lines had the pleas- 
ure of gazing upon some of the grand and magnificent works 
of nature which our western wilds present. Fragments of the 
sketches of that summer's trip have from time to time ap- 
peared in the columns of the Journal, and the introduction of 



the remaining parts by piecemeal is now contemplated. The 
following sketch, with but little change appeared in the Daily 
Leader of July 25th, 1872. 

We met the Major at Galesburg, 111., which place we left 
on Friday, at 5 p.m. Once snugly quartered in one of Pull- 
man's palace cars, the time passed merrily by. Our 
route was over the C. B. and Q. to Burlington; the B. and M. 
to Omaha, the U.P. to Ogden, and the U. C. (Utah Central) 
to Salt Lake City. We arrived at Burlington at 6 p.m. having 
passed on our way some very poor fields of corn and small 
grain; indeed, in some places the old corn stalks and stubble 
still stand, the ground having been too wet in spring to be 
cultivated. Without delay we left the beautiful city of Bur- 
lington, and had reached Fairfax, Iowa, when observation 
had to be suspended and we also. When I woke next morning 
we had reached Corning, Iowa. For beauty of location and 
fertility of soil, judging from the luxuriant growth 
which clothed the undulating plains in richest green, I have 
never seen Western Iowa's superior. The surface of the coun- 
try is somewhat more broken than in the region of Blooming- 
ton, being greatly diversified with hills and valleys and well 
supplied with streams of crystal water, skirted with groves 
of timber. 

Pacific Junction was reached at 9 p.m. on Saturday. This 
town is located in the valley of the Missouri River, about an 
hour's ride from Council Bluffs. The valley is here from three 
to six miles wide, and for the most part dry land. Some of 
the finest fields of corn may be seen in this bottom. In the 
bluffs, as they are called, I was disappointed; I had pictured 
a rugged, rocky line of high hills which should frown down in 
foreboding aspect upon the hemmed-in valley— but none such 
were to be seen. Instead, the quiet valley was skirted by a 
line of gracefully rounded undulating hills; most of 
them seemingly as smooth and regular as heaps of sand, and 
carpeted in green as rich and velvety as any new 
mown lawn. Perhaps "distance lends enchantment to the 
view", and upon close inspection one would find them much 
more rugged. 

At Council Bluffs we changed for Omaha. This arrange- 
ment is quite an annoyance to the traveling public, but on ac- 
count of a failure of the railroad companies, and the bridge 
company to agree upon terms, the trains from neither side 

1872 65 

are taken across the bridge. We reached Omaha at 10:30 on 
Saturday, and found one hour at our disposal before the U.P. 
train left for the Pacific coast. Omaha is built upon the high- 
lands of bluffs, while Council Bluffs is built on the lowlands, 
at the foot of the bluffs at the opposite side. 

Though this historic place has not kept pace with its first 
great development, it still is a thriving business city. Here 
is located one of the best public school buildings in the West, 
if not in the United States. Standing upon one of the highest 
points in the city, it cannot fail to attract attention. It is built 
upon the former site of the State House, and was erected at 
a cost of $150,000. 

But my time is up, and I must return to the train bound 
for the far West. It is excessively warm, and after some ex- 
ertion, I succeed in securing a section in a palace car, sup- 
posing that the train will be off in a few minutes. I find, how- 
ever, that my watch is wrong — fully half an hour fast. A 
few moment's thought explains the difficulty. I have Chica- 
go time. So after a full half hour, we leave at 11:30, Omaha 

The train from Omaha to Ogden is run upon Omaha time, 
33 minutes slower than Chicago time, so hereafter my fig- 
ures are for Omaha, until further notice. 

For some distance back from the river, the country is 
broken and covered with underbrush and stunted growth of 
trees. Farther out, as we pass up the valley, are vast tracts 
of beautiful prairie land, with here and there an occasional 

I am very favorably impressed with the morals of the 
Union Pacific railroad company, for in passing through the 
train I read in large print, "Gambling on this train is pro- 
hibited. Passengers are requested to notify the conductor of 
any violation of this order. S. H. H. Clark, Ass't Gen. Sup't. 
U.P.R.R., Omaha." 

Notwithstanding this caution several games of cards 
were indulged in by some members of the company on board, 
and in some instances the dinner bill was the stake. I, how- 
ever, indulged in neither the game nor in bearing informa- 
tion to the controlling officers, and thus the matter passed. 
Of course the railroad company is not held responsible for 
such violations. 


Fremont, a thriving little town on the east bank of the 
Platte, is reached at 1:50, and the hungry passengers hear 
the pleasing call, "Thirty minutes for dinner." With but lit- 
tle exception we were free from dust. A pleas- 
ant breeze blowing from the south kept smoke and cinders 
from the cars. Indians are frequently seen along the line; 
not in their native wildness, but with some apology for cloth- 
ing they may be seen at stations, where they gather to beg 
from passing trains. Our course has been for some 
time along the valley of the Platte, which might have been 
properly called the "Flat". This valley is about eight miles 
wide and seemingly, level as a floor. The river bed 
is bankless, the water in the distance appearing as high as 
the grass which grows in profusion along the valley. Far out 
on either side, skirting this fertile plain, are sloping hills cov- 
ered with grass. Notwithstanding this flat appearance, the 
river is said to flow quite rapidly, often changing its chan- 
nel in a few hours by cutting a new course through its quick- 
sand bed, thus rendering the fording of the stream very un- 
safe. This stream is said to be on an average of three-fourths 
of a mile wide and six inches deep. It is only navigable for 
shingles, and for them only during high water. I did not go 
down to measure the stream, as it was not included in the 
survey in which the Major intended I should assist, so the 
above fact I gleaned from others who claimed to know 
whereof they affirmed. 

Grand Island is reached at 6 :50, and here we are served 
to a grand, good supper. I appreciate such careful fore- 
thought on the part of a railroad company. Some one 
has said blessings on the man who invented eating, but I say 
blessings on the man who invented the "thirty minute" sys- 
tem, provided he could give no more time. For if there is one 
thing one likes to do more than another, it is to eat. 

This station takes its name from the island in the Platte 
opposite which it is built. All along the Platte valley thus far, 
is seen the evidence of civilization. Here and there are fields 
of corn, unfenced — what stock the farmer has being kept 
within bounds either by herding or by being staked for graz- 

From this point we seem to pass somewhat out of the low 
flat valley of the Platte, and soon are upon what seems to be 
the tablelands — a grand opening here for the pinched of the 

1872 67 

East. One can hardly imagine why people will spend all their 
days in digging among the stumps or stones of some forlorn 
and barren hillside, where here are acres by the million, 
ready for the ploughshare, and mints of gold which lie hidden 
just beneath the sod. 

My story closes for the day at Kearney, and I betake my- 
self to rest and sleep. 

Next morning dawns, and I am up in time to see 
Big Spring station upon the South Platte. The valley here is 
narrow and inclosed by irregular hills. There is much less 
evidence of civilization, only an occasional hut is seen. There 
is no timber along the stream, but beautiful islands tuffed 
with luxuriant grass render the scene one of beauty and 
prompt to meditation appropriate for this bright Sabbath 

At 8:20 a.m. we pass the deserted city of Julesburg, 
about which so much was said a few years since. At one time 
this place boasted a population of 3,000 souls, now only two 
or three huts mark the place, while scattered here and there 
are seen relics of its former greatness. Some strange 
and thrilling stories are told of the crime and bloodshed of 
which this place has been the scene, but I will not now re- 
late them. 

We leave the valley of the South Platte. The soil is very 
sandy, and on the uplands may be seen sand hills sparsely 
covered with grass. After passing Julesburg we had the first 
view of the antelope, and soon after the prairie dog put in his 

We breakfast at Sidney at 7:30. The prickly cactus 
is here found in profusion. The little ravine or valley 
up which we pass is skirted with barren sand ridges while 
here and there may be seen the outcropping of sandstone and 
limestone ledges. The scene is one of partial desolation, veg- 
etation looks stunted, parched and dry. Now and then a few 
scraggy cedars may be seen upon the barren rocky uplands 
skirting Lodge Pole valley, up which the U.P.R.R. now 
makes its way. 

Prairie Dog city, the largest city on the line, we pass at 
9 a.m. Here for miles are the little mounds of earth, 
and scattered here and there the faithful little sentinels 
stand on tiptoe to catch the first sight of approaching danger. 


But on we go and leave the fearful little creatures un- 
molested. We are now in Wyoming Territory. The physical 
features of the country are unchanged, except that the little 
valley up which we pass grows less and less distinct, and the 
skirting rocky uplands approach at times the character of 
bluffs. We reach Pine Bluff at 10 :30 a.m. Far to the north 
is a rocky point projecting sharply into the plain, and in the 
valley feeds a multitude of cattle, the future staple of the 
Great West. 

We now leave the valley of the Lodge Pole, and pass out 
upon what seems to be an open tableland, covered with 
a sparse growth of grass and cactus. The course of the road 
for some distance has been much more irregular, winding 
along ravines, and constantly up grade. We now begin 
to pass sections of "snow fence" and while I gaze upon the 
vast unbounded plain, far in the distance, I discover the 
snowy peaks of the Rocky mountains. There they lie, in all 
their grandeur, embedded in the fleecy clouds, while skirt- 
ing the horizon, and up their sloping sides, the snow in 
streaks of purest white glistens in the sunlight. To the right 
skirting the horizon are the Black Hills, which in the 
distance present the appearance of a series of groves 
of heavy timber of very unequal height, while to the left and 
in front lie the "Snowy Range" embedded in the clouds. It 
has often been said that no one can gain a correct idea of a 
Mountain Range without actually passing over it. I however 
never fully realized the force of the remark until I learned 
its true import by actual observation. It really does not seem 
that one is on the mountain. We are passing through fields 
of granite upheaved in every possible shape, while rain- 
storms skirt the horizon in various directions. Occasionally 
we plunge into the cloud and come out in the bright sunlight 
on the other side. Now we will be moving along on some high 
embankment, and then pass into some narrow defile or gorge 
cut in the solid rock, or suddenly enter some snow shed, of 
which numbers are found along the road. 

The course of the road is constantly changing, thus ren- 
dering it almost impossible for the inexperienced traveler 
to keep the points of the compass correctly. This also gives 
a novel variety to the scenery, for snowy cliffs are seen from 
time to time in almost every direction, and yet they are ac- 
tually the same range. 

1872 69 

Cheyenne is reached at 2 p.m. Here we dine. This form- 
erly noted place is still of some importance, and the erection 
of two substantial school buildings speaks well for its enter- 
prising inhabitants. I find, as we approach the higher alti- 
tudes, the breeze is too cool for linen, so beneath a bright 
July sun I don my woolen and wear it with much comfort. 

We pass Sherman at 4 p.m., and are now more than 8,000 
feet above the level of the sea. Here amidst the wildness 
and barrenness of the mountains, civilization has pitched its 
tent, and the habitation of man takes the place of the wild 
beast's lair. Along the route, as we near the Laramie Plains, 
strange figures of red sandstone, weird and fantastic in de- 
sign, are seen standing on the plain. These are known to 
the geologist as "Red Buttes." The Laramie Plains is a com- 
paratively level tract of country; a kind of plateau, covered 
with a sparse growth of grass, sage and greasewood. These 
plains are said to be fine grazing land, and occasionally we 
passed herds of cattle, which from appearance fully justified 
the above report, though to an Illinoisan it really looks like 
a poor excuse for pasture land. After riding all night, we 
passed into the alkali region, desolate enough; even the wa- 
ter being unfit for railroading. A train of cars was standing 
at Point of Rocks station which is used for bringing water 
from Green River to supply the tank. 

At 6 a.m. we reached Green River, where the Powell ex- 
pedition launched their boats. The surrounding country is 
wild and desolate, with but little vegetation. From this point 
we pass up the Green River Valley until we reach Black's 
Fork, a branch of the Green. 

We now approach a somewhat more picturesque region. 
At various points along the line this morning, we see 
the peaks of the Uintah Mountains, beautifully glistening in 
the sunlight with variegated background of floating clouds. 

At 2 p.m. we passed Evanston, and entered one of the 
most beautiful regions along the route. Winding along 
the side of a huge pile of red sandstone, just opposite with- 
in a stone's throw is a little green valley, pinched in between 
the hills. But on we go; now plunging into cuts and 
then emerging to pass a high embankment; all this variety 
adds interest to the scene. At Evanston an observation car 
was attached to give those desiring it a better opportunity 
to witness nature in all her native wildness and grandeur. 


We passed through the tunnel leading to Echo Canyon, 
and here began scenery transcending all power of descrip- 
tion. I leave a pen portraiture of this and Weber can- 
yon, through which we passed before reaching Ogden, 
to those better skilled in the art, and close this hasty sketch 
by saying that we reached Salt Lake City on Monday, at 7 
p.m., having been only four days and three nights on 
the route from Chicago. (See appendix for descriptions of 
early Salt Lake City— Ed.) 
The first assignment that Prof. DeMotte received after the week's 

sightseeing in Salt Lake City, was the following trip, with Capt. F. M. 

Bishop, then in Salt Lake City, to the Major's field base, in charge 

of A. N. Thompson, near Kanab. The Alumni Journal's "piece-meal" 

account skipped to Vol. IV., No. 10., October 1874: 

Twelve Days With The Broncos 

It was the 22d of July. The curtains which a quiet sleep 
had gently drawn before the windows of the soul had been 
quite early lifted, and the gray dawn of a mountain sunrise 
in the hemmed in city of the Saints had lighted up the cham- 
ber of the Townsend House, where we had found sweet rest 
and sleep. The Captain and myself were at our work 
betimes, for this day was to witness the beginning our jour- 
ney to Kanab, which lay fully 300 miles away directly toward 
the south. 

A week had been spent in seeing the places of especial 
interest in the city of the Great Salt Lake, and the Major had 
on the previous Friday purchased four unbroken mules. 
These he had selected from a corral in which were about 50 
more in all their native, treacherous wildness. The manner 
of taming these wild beasts may be of interest to some. 

A strong mountaineer singles out the victim and, with 
an adroitness and accuracy which evinces the highest ac- 
complishments in the mysterious art, by a graceful swinging 
of the nicely prepared lasso, he delivers the slipnoose around 
the animal's front foot. The lasso is then secured to a post of 
the corral, allowing the mule some 50 feet of halter. 
With apparently little caution the tamer passes along 
the rope with bridle in hand and after a few unfruitful ef- 
forts to secure its release, the bronco submits to being 

1872 71 

bridled. A long rope is then attached to the neck and passed 
through the ring of the bridle. And now begins the work of 
taming, proper. 

The master of ceremonies at one end and the mule se- 
curely fastened at the other end of a rope about 100 feet long, 
are the principal actors. The mule is given rope, and starts 
to run, when the stalwart mountaineer, with a surge which 
seems sufficient to unjoint the bronco's neck, brings him to 
a sudden right-about face. This process is repeated until the 
mule can scarcely be induced to start from his tracks, sub- 
mitting patiently to the most persistent coaxing with- 
out showing any signs of uneasiness or fear. 

The harness is then placed in position and the animal led 
or driven about until it becomes somewhat accustomed to 
these new relations. This same process is repeated with an- 
other, and then the two are hitched to a large lumber wag- 
on. I was interested and amused in witnessing this last pro- 
cess. A long rope was again attached to the front foot of each 
mule, and passed back to the driver's seat. The driver and 
his assistant took their positions side by side, the for- 
mer with the reins, the latter holding the ropes. The driver 
then gave the following directions : 

"When I say left, pull the left rope, and when I say right, 
pull the right rope." The word was given, the broncos start- 
ed in a stifflegged jumping gait unlike anything that a civil- 
ized mule could possibly perform, and bearing too near the 
left hand sidewalk the driver called right, and suddenly one 
foot was taken out of the account and one mule was on his 
knees to beg pardon for his improper conduct. In less than 
half an hour the team was trotting along the street as quietly 
as a span of "allwork," five years in the service. And in less 
than 24 hours, the four wild broncos were hitched to a new 
wagon which the Major had purchased for the trip, and 
seemed to be as bridle-wise as though they had always been 
accustomed to such restraint. 

Our wagon was loaded at 10 o'clock, and as a driver was 
to accompany us two days, I mounted the horse upon which 
he was to return, while he and the Captain sat side by side 
and drove toward the South. About 22 miles south of the city 
is what is known as the "Point." A spur of the Wahsatch 
Range, which skirts the valley of the river Jordan on the 


east, here reaches to the river's brink. It was our intention 
to reach a spring of water near the Point, at which to make 
our first encampment. The valley in this region is dotted 
over with small farms, while here and there are "blast fur- 
naces" for the reduction of the lead and silver ore which 
abounds in the canyons of the Wahsatch Range. Some beau- 
tiful streams of water were crossed during the day, but our 
mules were so shy that we found it impossible to get near 
enough to them to give them a drink. Indeed, we could not 
succeed in getting them to stand long enough to make the ex- 
periment. They seemed bent upon travel, and they were per- 
mitted to follow that bent. With somewhat varying fortune, 
but no serious ill luck, we reached the anticipated spot about 
5 o'clock. 

Here we found a feed stable and at once engaged quar- 
ters for our mules, ourselves preferring the open air accom- 
modations to the uncomfortable apartments of the only ex- 
cuse of a dwelling house in that immediate region. We slaked 
our thirst from the waters of the clear bubbling spring, and 
then prepared our frugal meal. We had laid in an abundant 
supply before leaving the city, comprising many delicacies 
as well as the more substantial provender; for, in addition 
to our ham, dried beef and flour, we had fruits and 
jellies and jam, (and the most of this latter the farther we 

There is no condiment so appetizing as exhausting labor, 
and no exercise more exhaustive than jolting on horseback, 
without intermission, for seven long hours, especially if one 
is an inexperienced horseman. Our supper was superb, and 
eaten with a relish unknown to the lank-jawed dyspeptic of 
civilized life. And then, when the sun had hid its golden tress- 
es behind the western mountain range we took a bath in one 
of the warm springs in which that region abounds. Some of 
these springs are too warm for comfortable bathing, but this 
one was in prime condition. Many of these are simply little 
ponds of water in the valley without any visible outlet. Some 
are said to be bottomless, the deepest soundings yet made 
failing to discover their depth. I made a sounding with 
a plummet — length 5 feet, 10 inches; weight 1 and %ths 
cwt, avoirdupois, time — a full inspiration, and the plum- 
met came plumping back to the surface without touch- 
ing bottom. 

1872 73 

This was my first night in the open air, and I was 
anxious to locate our quarters near to, or under the wagon, 
or in the stunted grass by an apology of a fence which stood 
near. But the Captain, having had much experience in camp, 
said it was much better to spread our blankets in the sand, 
from which the grosser pebbles had been rejected. After 
composing my toilet for the night, I watched the stars as 
they twinkled merrily above, and thought of the possible 
danger of the coming days, and then of home and the loving 
hearts so far away. But wearied nature soon found rest, and 
when the early dawn began to hide the faithful sentinels of 
night, I woke from a sweet refreshing slumber. 

Of course the center of our anxiety now was the 
four sleek creatures which stood quietly taking their morn- 
ing meal. They were comparative strangers to us and we to 
them, and we feared that too sudden and intimate relations 
with them might be productive of some unpleasant memo- 
ries. We tried to inspire confidence and give assurance of 
our presence by dealing gently, for though mules are 
easily broken, you will find it necessary to handle them care- 
fully. We called them pet names, christening the brown 
wheelers Jack and Muggins, and the little sorrel leaders 
Jane and Bett. And by planning, and coaxing and maneu- 
vering we finally succeeded in bringing them into line with- 
out loss, and yet not without hazard of life and limb. I now 
took my seat by Kemp, the driver, while the Captain mount- 
ed the charger. At eight we straightened traces and scaled 
the foothills of the Point, passing some romantic scenery, 
and over the ridge into the basin of Utah Lake. This valley 
is one of the most fertile and best settled regions in the ter- 

During the morning we passed a number of Mor- 
mon towns; among them were Lehigh, American Fork, Bat- 
tle Creek and Provost (Provo). This last place is the second 
town in size and importance in the Mormon dominions. At 
11:30 a.m., the driver left us and I took the reins with no lit- 
tle trepidation. Before starting I had supposed that the Cap- 
tain would assume the role of driver, but he at once award- 
ed to me the palm as the most experienced horseman, and 
I held the ribbons with only occasional intermissions the en- 
tire journey. The especial difficulty we experienced was in 
passing persons along the road or in the settlements, for the 


mules were extremely fearful of persons. Sometimes it was 
with difficulty that the leaders could be prevented from per- 
forming a "right-about, double-quick". We, however, con- 
tinued our journey without serious interruption, halting only 
a few minutes about 1 o'clock to coax our broncos to drink 
at a beautiful stream which came sparkling down from the 
snow-clad mountains in the near distance. After a drive of 
36 miles, we reached the romantic little settlement of Spring- 
ville at 5 o'clock where we camped for the night. Here too, 
we were fortunate in finding an inclosure or corral in which 
to tie our mules, as well as an ample supply of feed which 
they were well prepared to relish, after a full day's drive for 
the most part on an empty stomach. 

This town is snugly nestled in a quiet nook at the foot of 
a mountain range, and a magnificent stream of pure spring 
water flows through it, affording an abundant supply for ir- 
rigating purposes. 

In all the Salt Lake region, and indeed throughout the 
territory traversed in our journey they depend entirely upon 
an artifical watering of the land to mature their crops. They 
have rain, sometimes the most violent storms, when the wa- 
ter pours down in torrents, but the recurrence of showers is 
entirely too uncertain to be depended upon for watering their 
fields, consequently the settlements are always made along 
some stream of water. 

Their houses are built near together in the form of vil- 
lages, with regular streets intervening, and along 
these streets, on either side, are ditches in which the water 
from the stream is conducted to all parts of the town. Where 
the supply is abundant each person is permitted to use all he 
desires, but in seasons of scarcity they have a water clerk 
who turns the water to successive portions of the village by 
opening and closing the leading ditches. Depending thus 
upon the flow of water for irrigation it is necessary that their 
towns and farms be located on an inclined plane, so that the 
water entering the village or farm on the upper side will flow 
down in many small streams, dividing and subdividing until 
it is frequently lost in the loose, sandy loam ; or if not, it finds 
its way into the main channel below. The houses being built 
in close proximity serve as a kind of protection to the inhabi- 
tants in case of the appearance of hostile bands of Indians. 

1872 75 

In some of the most exposed settlements regular forts are 
constructed, into which the citizens can flee for safety 
in case of an attack. Their farms are generally adjoining the 
village and are enclosed with a single fence, the irrigating 
ditches forming the subdivision. The soil when properly irri- 
gated yields abundant harvests, 40 bushels of wheat per acre 
being frequently realized. Of necessity the farms are small, 
the possessor of a ten acre tract being considered a well-to- 
do farmer. 

Traveling in the presence of mountains, distance is very 
deceptive. After a hard day's drive we could look back to the 
northward and see the Point over which we passed in 
the early morning, seemingly removed only the distance of 
a morning walk. 

The morning of the 24th dawned bright and beautiful. 
The night of disturbed slumber was gladly exchanged for the 
pleasanter prospects of the day. The drifting sand and dust, 
together with the constant hum and not infrequent touch of 
the mosquito (stalwart fellows they were, too,) rendered it 
impossible to sleep soundly, and hence the hour of striking 
camp was not at all unwelcome. The 24th of July is a grand 
gala day with the Mormons. They celebrate in honor of their 
first arrival in Salt Lake Valley. So the little villages through 
which we passed were all astir, and the blacksmiths' anvils 
were in great demand. 

It became me, as engineer of our train, to watch 
our headlights, for our broncos were disposed to celebrate, 
too, whenever any one might possibly give audience. By hook 
and crook, by passing alleys, around blocks and through the 
unfrequented suburbs of the towns, we avoided any dire dis- 

Our morning's drive took us along the foothills of 
the range, through Spanish Fork and Pay son to Spring Lake, 
where we were cordially received and invited to sit down at 
a grand, old-fashioned dinner, at the house of some 
good Mormon with whom the Captain had a slight acquain- 
tance. The Mormon people are noted for their hospi- 
tality. Nothing which a Mormon has is too good for a friend, 
and you are received with such a hearty welcome that you 
feel at home even with strangers. ' 


We were now at the north base of Mt. Nebo, the highest 
mountain in the (Utah) territory, rising in altitude 12,000 
feet. * To the northward was the Point, still visible, where 
we camped two days before, and intervening lay Utah lake, 
along the shore of which we had wandered for more than a 
day. Ascending a ridge we reached the village of Santa Quin, 
sometimes called Summit, as it stands at the divide between 
Utah lake and the valley of the Sevier. Crossing the divide we 
skirted along the base of Mt. Nebo, whose snow capped peaks 
were crowned with eddying clouds. A storm was fast ap- 
proaching, and as it passed along the side and summit of 
this huge mountain, the sun shone clear and bright from the 
opposite horizon, painting in livid colors the "bow of 
promise" along the mountain side and crest. Never had I 
witnessed such surpassing brillancy of colors nor seemingly 
approached so near the fabulous bag of gold, which in our 
boyhood we were told lay at the base, to reward the labors 
of him who reached the spot before the rainbow vanished. 
Far, far above, confusion reigned supreme. The lofty moun- 
tain pine bowed in meek submission to the storm king, and 
fleecy clouds were driven with fury against projecting cliffs, 
while the forked lightning played athwart the sky and peals 
of thunder shook the solid ground. One felt as if the scenes 
of Sinai were about to be reenacted or that the chariot of 
Jehovah might be passing by. 

At the end of our third day's journey we camped 
at Mooney, just west of Mt. Nebo. For one entire day we had 
been sporting around the base of this majestic pile. The night 
was cool, the ground damp, and yet our sleep was sweet and 
undisturbed, and early morning found us on our way. 
We had now entered Little Salt Lake Valley. The road was 
charming, the air delightfully cool and bracing, so we im- 
proved the time. 

Passing Nephi, a place of some note, we halted at Chick- 
en Creek to feed. Thus far our camps had been made at Mor- 
mon settlements, where we could readily secure what feed 
was needed for our mules, but from this point our stages 
were to be uncertain and our camps determined by the 
declining sun. 

1 Later, other peaks higher than Nebo were found. 

1872 77 

In that country travelers usually depend upon grazing 
food for their animals. To prevent their wandering too far 
away during the night they hobble the ringleaders. This is 
done by fastening the front legs together so that the animal 
can only move by mincing steps. Now we feared to turn our 
chargers loose lest we might never see their like again, and 
neither of us coveted the task of hobbling. So we laid in store 
sufficient feed for the night and directed our course toward 
the Sevier river. 

We reached its banks just as the sun was setting. 
At Chicken Creek, where we dined, it was reported that hos- 
tile Indians had been occasioning some trouble in the valley 
— that a drove of horses had been stolen and one man killed. 
My nerves were none too steady as I pillowed my head upon 
a wisp of straw that night. True my trusty "Smith 
and Wesson" was at hand ready for any emergency, but 
then, for one accustomed to the security, comforts and re- 
finements of a pleasant home in the midst of civilization, 
the thought of an Indian raid upon two unprotected in- 
nocents, in the dead hour of night, is not calculated to induce 
perfect quiet and undisturbed repose. But weary nature must 
have rest, and so I slept, to be startled from my dreams by 
the presence of some ungainly hobgoblin which was stealing 
the scanty supply of hay which served us for a couch. 

I arose at once prepared for bloody action; discretion 
proved the better part of valor and delay revealed the fact 
that the thief was but some harmless, brindle cow. Flushed 
with victory in this first surprise and feeling now brave to 
do and dare in all similar encounters, I slept more soundly 
the remaining hours of the night. 

The early morning found us at our task. We were to have 
our first experience of harnessing without assistance, 
for hitherto some villager had always been present to lend 
us aid. The work to be accomplished is not easy of descrip- 
tion, and the dangers incident are not readily pictured with 
a pen. Imagine the two wheelers with not the kindest natural 
affections in position at the tongue, and then the sorrel lead- 
ers, whose feet were evidently not transfixed to earth, being 
brought into line, with the Captain at the bridle to quiet them 
by gentle strokes and sweet, pet names, and myself in aft 
very carelessly hitching the traces and threading the reins 
through the guiding rings, while Jack is performing a Ma- 


zurka on one foot or attempting to get up and ride, and Mug- 
gins, the invincible, is disposed to back to Salt Lake City, and 
Jane and Bett are watching, as for a sparrow's fall, 
and ready, without the slightest provocation, or warning, to 
double column and beat an inglorious retreat, thereby pro- 
ducing panic in the camp and all the numerous ills which fol- 
low in its train. Such is the merest outline of the work which 
twice each day lay unperformed before us; such the oppos- 
ing forces that we must meet and conquer ere our journey 
was begun. But when once the tugs were fastened and the 
driver in position all were obedient to the call, and wheeling 
into line leaned steadily to the work. 

Our route now lay up the east bank of the Sevier, which, 
at this point, was possibly somewhat larger than the Macki- 
naw of our own country. The water of the Sevier was quite 
muddy, occasioned by recent rains upon its tributaries, and, 
as I was not accustomed to a mixed beverage, I drank spar- 
ingly. About 12 o'clock we came to a beautiful brook whose 
waters were as clear as a crystal. Being very thirsty I gave 
the reins to the Captain and with cup in hand approached the 
purling stream. Imagine my disappointment upon plac- 
ing the brimming cup to my lips to find the water was warm 
and insipid and much less palatable than the murky Sevier. 
Upon inquiry we learned that the stream was named Warm 
Creek, and rightly named, as from experience I could testify. 

At Gunnison we rested, and while our faithful 
steeds were busy with their lunch we sought to find 
some purer water than the ditches by the roadside afforded. 
It is the custom of the people there to fill a barrel with water 
from the ditch in the morning while yet the air is cool and 
then by keeping it in the shade the water is not only cooler 
but much purer, than that in the wayside ditches. The Cap- 
tain's first effort was unsuccessful. He returned, bearing a 
cup of some kind of hop beer, entirely too bitter for my taste. 
His second expedition was more encouraging for this time he 
returned to invite me into one of those western frontier pal- 
aces, to enjoy the luxury of a bowl of bread and milk. I would 
that I might describe the house, but words fail to do the sub- 
ject justice. Dirt walls, dirt floor, dirt roof, dirt all over, in- 
side and out; and yet it was clean dirt; for after all an air of 
neatness and cheerfulness about that home which is often 
stranger to the mansion of wealth. Thanking our host for his 

1872 79 

generous hospitality and leaving in his bank a small deposit 
of fractional currency, we resumed our journey. 

The afternoon's drive was over a level plain, the valley 
being several miles wide in this locality. The soil in many 
places was quite sandy, indeed too much so for anything but 
a stunted growth of sage and rabbit-bush. We reached Salina 
before the sun went down and camped. A storm of rain dis- 
turbed the preparation of our evening meal, but a generous 
blacksmith kindly granted us possession of his shop, which 
afforded us good shelter for the night. 

A little incident occurred the following morning which 
served to break the dull monotony of our usual daily task. 
Uneasy Jack by some unneccesary efforts parted his moor- 
ings and was out at sea without a rudder. To secure him was 
the problem. The exploits of former years were carefully 
conned over, but no similar instance would up at bidding to 
serve us as a guide. Books were consulted, and the playful 
horse, the boy, the hat and the tempting grass; and then the 
haltered pony of Third Reader notoriety seemed a case in 
point, and so a plan was speedily devised. A youth of several 
summers who evidently had seen better days, with 
some oats, a nose sack and a halter, went slowly, mincing to- 
wards the wayward brute, which now stood serenely munch- 
ing a wisp of hay near the corral to which the other animals 
were yet anchored. There was profound strategy in the 
scheme and dramatic effect in its execution which none but 
the crayon of an illustrious Nash could sketch; and had he 
viewed the scene no doubt the feint would have been immort- 
alized in Harper's Illustrated Weekly. But the ruse was quite 
successful and the offending brute secured; another power- 
ful argument in favor of a knowledge of the books. 

The valley of the Sevier is for the most part a plain, 
varying somewhat in width and skirted on either side by ir- 
regular mountain ranges, and through this plain the river 
makes its tortuous channel from side to side. We had 
reached a point at Salina where the stream cut close by the 
eastern mountain's base, and we must either ford the stream 
or climb the mountain pass. Both ways were declared to be 
impassable by the good smith whose hospitality we had 
shared; but fearing to attempt the ford with our small 
mules, we chose the dry land route through what is very sig- 
nificantly termed "The Twist" and twist it was. Of all the 


roads in Christendom, or out of it for that matter, this 
proved to be the crookedest of the crooked, the hilliest of the 
hilly, the brushiest of the brushy, the rockiest of the rocky, 
the roughest of the rough, and the longest short road on the 
continent. By constant driving we arrived at Glen Cove at 
1:20 p.m., and were comforted with the assurance that we 
had made a remarkable drive that morning, having passed 
the horizontal distance of full 15 miles. The vertical distance 
had not been estimated. 

This Glen Cove was a lovely little nook in the midst of 
volcanic mountains, whose brown, bald brows and sides were 
in strange contrast with the rich carpet of luxuriant grass 
and fields of waving grain within the glen. We tarried only 
long enough to feed, and then, passing up a frightful "dug-a- 
way", where, at our left, were frowning cliffs which tower- 
ing heavenward, seemed ready to forever hide us from the 
living, and at our right a steep declivity led almost vertical 
far down to the rich pastures in the lowlands, we gained the 
summit of the mountain spur only to be forced down a mon- 
strous rocky steep on the other side. This done, we reached 
the vale again and had prime driving until we halted at Mon- 
roe. We found here that the fear of an Indian raid was quite 
prevalent in the settlement. Suspicious looking Indians had 
been seen skulking among the hills and farther up the val- 
ley some had occasioned trouble. But, with our past experi- 
ence to quiet our nerves, we rested well and slept securely 
from harm. 

The Sabbath sun shone bright and clear upon the 
hemmed in valley, but no church going bell was heard to call 
the devotees to worship. A crowbar fashioned like the letter 
4 U' however formed the substitute; and as its ominous clang 
rang out upon the stillness of the morning air, the ragged ur- 
chins of the village ambled through the streets at snail-like 
pace to Sabbath School, with any other than devout demean- 
or. We would have mingled with the throng but for this once 
we felt that duty called to labor on the day of rest. We break- 
fasted and started on our way intent upon accomplishing at 
least a Sabbath day's journey. Mary's Vale, quite as roman- 
tic in scenery as in name, lay distant 15 miles. To reach it 
we must cross another mountain spur. 

This mountain pass bore the euphonic name of "Hog- 
back," a name which we soon found quite as significant as 

1872 81 

"The Twist." For one full hour we traveled up a gently in- 
clined plain, thickly beset with volcanic boulders. We jogged 
along with measured pace, at length reaching a somewhat 
more undulating section of the route, but still ascending; up, 
up we went, winding along some tortuous ravine, then over 
some uneven ridge into another. Still on we steadily pursued 
our way, until we found ourselves in the presence of an up- 
heaved ridge which seemed to hedge us in. Was this 
the "Hogback"? "Only this and nothing more." Here the road 
led directly up a sharp ascent at least 200 feet, and, to add 
to the difficulty, the roadbed was solid rock, upon which our 
unshod mules would, with no slight uncertainty, retain their 
footing. But over the "Hogback" we must go, if we go at all. 

So adjusting the reins with unusual care and preparing 
to leap for life should any accident befall us in our skyward 
journey, at the word, without a murmur, our mules began 
to climb. Never did broncos do more faithful service. First 
one and then another would lose its footing and fall upon the 
shelving rock, but the others, true as steel, would hold the 
load of 1,600 pounds until the footing was regained. And need 
I say our breath was freer when we halted on the summit to 
let our faithful servants rest? We now supposed our troubles 
for the day were ended, but soon we found that the descent 
was rough and rugged, with frequent steep declivities. So 
in the downward journey I held the reins with all my strength 
at my command while the Captain manned the brake with 
dexterous skill, and when we reached the base it seemed as 
if my fingers were un jointed. 

We had great cause for thankfulness, however, that our 
necks were spared, and so with cheerful hearts we reached 
the Vale and found a resting place at 12 o'clock. Here 
we met a kind family which bore the romantic name 
of Brown. (God bless the Browns if they are all like those.) 
With this family the Captain had a slight acquaintance and 
we were welcomed to their rustic cabin home, and enter- 
tained right royally. Here we enjoyed a luxury for the night, 
spreading our couch upon a full supply of new mown hay. It 
was like resting on a bed of down, and sleep was nev- 
er sweeter to a weary mortal. 

The morning was quite cool, really uncomfortably so, 
before the sun was up. We bade kind friends adieu and were 
fairly well on our way at 7. The road was charming, and we 


measured distance at a liberal gait, with nought to inter- 
rupt save a lone wolf, which passed beyond the range of our 
trusty rifles. Still farther up the valley we found traces of 
the Indian's lodge poles. In moving camp they drag 
their lodge poles on the ground, and thus it is quite easy to 
trace their line of march. We were now on the west side of 
the valley, having crossed the stream at Mary's Vale, and 
as we skirted the western slope, we saw some Indians near 
the eastern border. They passed on down the valley and we 
continued our ascent, reaching Circleville at 2 o'clock. We 
found here a Mormon town of more than 50 houses without 
inhabitants. Through fear of Indian trouble and for lack of ir- 
rigation it had been deserted years before. Here some, in 
years gone by, had labored hard to make a home. The houses 
were of logs and many of them seemed to be still habitable. 
But fear of the treacherous red man had caused all parties 
to decamp, leaving their homes to ruin and decay. 

For some miles the axes of the bordering hills had been 
inclining toward the stream, and the valley growing gradu- 
ally less and less expansive until now it was hemmed in be- 
tween two frowning cliffs, for we had reached the entrance 
of Volcano Canyon. I cannot attempt a full description of this 
section of our route. It was barely passable, winding along 
the base of the cliff in such close proximity that the moving 
wheel would wear the projecting ledge, while on the opposite 
side just over the vertical bank some feet below the spark- 
ling water of the Sevier was merrily gliding along its rocky 
bed. The stream was not large but in many places flowed 
with great rapidity, and, as it went dashing over the huge 
boulders which had tumbled from the cliff, its noise gave to 
the surrounding scenery an air of wildness which at times 
became almost painful. We were compelled to ford the 
stream six times in less that many miles, and, if before we 
had uttered words of praise for our little leaders, we might 
well eulogize them now. Twice in the middle of the stream a 
trace became unfastened and, at the word, they stood until 
the Captain could wade in and make all safe again. 

We reached the upper end of the canyon just before the 
sun went down, and, as we were prospecting for a camping 
ground, the Captian spied a deer near the foot of the cliff. 
With a trusty rifle, two of which we carried, he started on 
the chase. The cliff seemed perpendicular and yet the deer 

1872 83 

well knew its secret path. With a bounding step it scaled 
the cliff, jumping from crag to crag, and soon was beyond 
the hunter's range. 

Though in July, the night was excessively cold, and when 
we rose the ground was white with frost, and ice, of no mean 
thickness, had formed upon the water in our bucket. But 
the morning sun soon warmed the chilly atmosphere and we 
passed out upon an undulating plain. It was now my turn to 
spy some game. Some sage hens near the road came in my 
line of vision; so, putting the Captain in command of the 
train, I dismounted, revolver in hand, prepared for deeds 
of daring. Brave to the last, I emptied every barrel and left 
the game unharmed, indeed unscared, not even raising a sin- 
gle feather. The Captain, with words of commendation, 
urged me to try another round, but I entered a demurrer, 
maintaining that game which had so bravely stood my center 
shots had fairly won the right to live. 

We reached Pangwich (Panguitch) at 1 o'clock. Here we 
found a thriving Mormon village, and, by inquiring, ascer- 
tained where we might possibly prevail on the good people 
to provide for us a "white man's dinner." We succeeded in 
engaging, and securing, what is known in Western parlance 
as a "good, square meal," and here, as elsewhere, we left a 
gentle reminder of our gratitude in the form of an elegant 
steel engraving, prepared at the expense of the general gov- 
ernment, which so moved the generous soul of the kind host- 
ess in compassion on the two lone hopefuls, that she made 
us a liberal donation of the staff of life, which served us 
grandly for our evening meal. 

We left the spot reluctantly, as one would an oasis in 
the desert, and resumed our journey, still ascending the 
Sevier, which had become a small stream; and leaving Hills- 
dale, a little settlement, to our left, we pitched our camp in 
a pleasant little dale near the bank of the brook. Not long 
had we been halted, when some travelers bound for the City 
of the Saints, hove into sight, one of whom proved to be John- 
son, who had been one of the Major's party in the exploration 
of the Green and Colorado rivers the previous year. (This 
could have been W. D. Johnson, a Mormon settler, who was 
probably one of the party acompanying Major Powell and 
Jacob Hamblin on their overland trip in 1871 to find routes 
for supplying the river party— Ed.) 


As the Captain also had formed one of that company (i.e. 
the land party) we all shared the same campfire, and the 
incidents of the previous year's survey, formed a fruitful 
and interesting theme for conversation until a late hour. 

The night was cold and frosty, but the abundant supply 
of newmown hay which formed our couch fully compensated, 
and we slept soundly till the day dawned. Parting company 
with our friends at an early hour, we soon reached Mammoth 
Fork. This stream is fed by an immense spring, which fur- 
nishes a sufficient supply of water to fill an ordinary mill- 

Halting only a short time to feed and rest, we pursued 
our way through a beautifully undulating region full of 
valleys, richly carpeted with grass and flowers, and nicely 
rounded ridges intervening, indented with lonely dells, and 
dotted with clumps of stately evergreens. 

We reached Kanab creek about 4 p.m., and were now 
upon the Colorado slant. Proceeding down the valley about 
five miles we made our tenth encampment. Just before halt- 
ing for the night, we had a narrow escape from a regular 
"turnover" and "smashup". Kanab creek at this point is 
simply a deep gully, and across the little chasm, a tempor- 
ary bridge of willow boughs laid cross-wise on some timbers 
had been constructed, barely wide enough for "very proper 
mules" to guide their load in safety. We saw the danger, 
and yet our only possible way lay across the rustic bridge. 
So, preparing for the emergency, I gave the word to advance. 
The leaders did their duty nobly, and had gained footing on 
the opposite bank, when Jack was very improperly interrup- 
ted in his steady gait by the luckless moving of a willow 
bough upon the bridge, and forwith sheered to leeward more 
than was becoming. Seeing this mishap, I at once with 
trusty lash put life into all four. This rapid movement 
brought the front wheels safely to the shore, but one hind 
wheel, when nearly over, suddenly fell out, and left the 
bridge to land its axle down upon the cross beam of the 
structure. To give effect to the scene which was being en- 
acted, the beam gave way, and left the wagon on an inclined 
plane, whose angle was not less than 45 degrees. 

As the bridge gave way, I called a halt, and with unus- 
ual activity of muscle, safely landed the somewhat discom- 
fited driver far out of danger on the bank, who, true to the 

1872 85 

instinct of his profession, was still holding to the reins, and 
ready for another drive. It really seemed a hopeless task 
to start the train without reshipment, and the Captain said 
we might as well begin the labor of unloading; but I, confid- 
ing in the muscle of our mules, (when under due restraint) 
resumed the driver's seat and gave the familiar "git", when 
all four, faithful to the last, soon brought us safely 
upon plane and solid footing. 

We were now 22 miles from Johnson's Ranch, and all 
that distance must be passed without water for our mules. 
The first of our morning drive was pleasant, but soon the way 
became rough and hilly. Leaving Kanab creek we crossed 
a high and rugged ridge and entered a sandy canyon leading 
to Johnson's ranch. The day was excessively warm and the 
wheeling heavy, especially when passing over, or more ex- 
actly, through the long deep beds of sand which here 
and there had drifted into the canyon. At times it was with 
difficulty that the mules could be urged forward. They 
seemed ready to drop in the heated sand, overcome by the 
unusual labor of the recent days and the excessive thirst of 
the hour. We succeeded, however, by dint of perseverance, 
in imparting sufficient enthusiasm and courage to our faith- 
ful servants to enable us to reach Johnson's Ranch at 2 p.m. 

Our journey thither had consumed 11 days, and as the 
Captain knew the people of the ranch, we halted for the night. 
At this ranch were three or four families. They were pro- 
vided with comfortable houses, and had vast herds of sheep 
and cattle. Johnson's Canyon, in which the ranch is located, 
is a narrow valley enclosed between sandstone ledges which 
in some places rise vertical from the base, and along which 
are occasional springs of water. The grazing for herds is ex- 
cellent during the entire year, the green and thrifty growth 
of the valley forming good pasture during the warmer sea- 
son, and the dried grass of the upland serving as hay for the 

We were invited to dine with the good people, and never 
were hospitalities more gratefully received and more fully 
enjoyed. Though we had provided bountifully for the journey 
before leaving Salt Lake City, and, indeed, had a plentiful 
supply at this time, somehow it had been jolted and tumbled 
and sadly mixed; so that after, with care, we had separated 
the oats from the sugar and the rice from broken straw, and 


the prunes from the coffee, and then dusted everything off 
nice and clean with a wisp of hay, the meal prepared did not 
seem to tempt the palate as at the beginning. Hence, to sit 
at a table and eat like civilized specimens of the genus homo, 
with a woman, a veritable woman, to do the honors of the 
occasion was a luxury indeed. 

We here met Beaman, the artist, who accompanied the 
Powell expedition the previous year, and who now was pre- 
paring for a trip to the Moquis Pablos or Aztec cities of 
Arizona. Our jaded mules for the first time in our journey 
were permitted to range in a pasture, and they seemed to 
enjoy their freedom and the rich grazing as much as we did 
our sumptuous repast. 

After dinner I visited the corral where they were brand- 
ing cattle. The process was novel to me. The corral was lo- 
cated in a nook along the cliff, the perpendicular walls of 
which formed three sides. Across the remaining side a fence 
had been constructed of the scrub cedars which grow on the 
uplands. It was interesting to watch two boys who had taken 
this occasion to practice with the lasso. Having singled out 
the animal to be branded, with great dexterity the noose 
was thrown, sometimes around the horns but more frequently 
around the neck or feet. After properly securing the victim 
the heated iron letter (i.e. the brand) was applied which was 
to leave the evidence of ownership for time to come. 

Our stock of hay being exhausted, I spread my couch 
that night upon the naked ground, which here was dry and 
hard and quite uneven. And this trivial circumstance, to- 
gether with the lowing of the herds and the unusual hum of 
civilized life from which for a time I had been separated, 
somewhat disturbed my rest. The Captain, until the "wee" 
small hours, was visiting with the girls (Jennie and Julia 
Johnson, probably, as the Captain lived at the ranch the 
winter months of 70-71 — Ed.), so I afterwards learned; but 
after the hum and bustle of the ranch had ceased, he quietly 
crept to his accustomed place beside me and soon betook 
himself to dreamland. 

With the dawn of the morning we were astir and under- 
took the somewhat dreadful task of securing our mules. 
As a precaution we had left the halters trailing, and so coax- 
ing them into a corner we captured them one by one; not 
however without being occasionally vaulted into midair, or 

1872 87 

laid calmly upon the turf by the sudden perverseness of the 
brute occasioned by seizing, too unguardedly and rudely, 
the trailing halter. Though urged to tarry, we did not break- 
fast at the ranch. A lunch of bread and sweet, fresh milk 
sufficed, and we began our 12th and last day's journey. A 
mile toward the south brought us to the mouth of Johnson's 
Canyon, where the road bore toward the west. Our route 
lay along the foot of a sandstone ledge, which rose abruptly 
from the sandy plain. The cliff prevented any northern 
view, but far toward the south across the plain lay the Kaibab 

The road for the most part was good, winding along the 
plain which was sparsely covered with sage and bunch grass, 
with here and there an occasional cedar grove At 11 
o'clock, turning to the northward, we rounded a vermillion 
cliff and entered Kanab Canyon. In the near distance lay the 
far-famed city of Kanab, a settlement of about 40 families 
snugly quartered in plain but comfortable homes, and pre- 
senting the appearance of a quiet, industrious people. And 
here we met Prof. Thompson, and rested from our 12 days' 
journey with the broncos. 
It is interesting to note what Prof. Thompson wrote in his diary for 
Aug 1 and 2, 1872: Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. VII: 

"Aug. 1, 1872 . . . George (Adair) . . . went to Johnson (ranch) and 
saw Prof. DeMotte and Captain Bishop with team of four mules for us. 
(They had) left Salt Lake City the 22nd ult. The Major was to 
leave next day. It seems that the Major's stop and work in Salt Lake 
was to get the telegraph in order so that we might ascertain the longi- 
tude of Kanab, and Prof. DeMotte is to assist . . . 

"Aug. 2, 1872. Prof. DeMotte and Captain Bishop got in. About $850 
in team, $500.00 mules that are well worth over $600.00 ..." 

It is also interesting to note that betwen Aug. 2 and Aug. 10 no entry 
is given in the Thompson diary, and for the three days thereafter, (Aug. 
10-13) only the scientific notations are set down. For the account of the 
missing week, the following extract from the Alumni Journal (October, 
1872, Vol. II) describes what occurred : 


Six Days on the Kaibab 

It was the 6th of August and though old Sol with unabated 
zeal sent his piercing rays through a clear and cloudless at- 
mosphere, old Boreas with his usual clemency had left ajar 
the "Western Gate" and a refreshing breeze, a welcome 
guest, made pleasant our morning ride. Our party consisted 
of the Major, Prof. T. and wife, (Nellie, the Major's sister), 
George (Adair) two Indian guides and myself, and a merry 
party we were. 

The previous day was spent in corralling the horses, 
preparing the pack, issuing rations and putting in readiness 
the many little conveniences which one is likely to need on a 
tour such as lay before us. At 9 o'clock all was declared to 
be in readiness and we mounted. My charger was a snug 
little pony of that peculiar color, which, when a boy, I knew 
as "milk and cider", but which in modern parlance, is 
termed "claybank". He had been christened Buttons — a 
name to which he readily responded, and which I deemed it 
wise to leave unchanged. 

Our route lay toward the south across a broad and sandy 
plain, broken by intervals by dry ravines and gently sloping 
hillocks, with an occasional vermillion or chocolate cliff of 
no great magnitude. The plain was covered with a thrifty 
growth of sage brush interspersed with ouse (a form of cac- 
tus) and tree cactus. A long dry journey lay before us, for 
full 30 miles away was the first spring toward which 
we measured distance at a liberal gait. Our blankets with 
provisions for eight days had been securely packed upon 
"Old Whitey", a faithful animal that bore the load as care- 
fully as an Italian peddler does his tray of toys. Through this 
monotonous waste we cheerfully pursued our journey till 
the midday sun reminded us that though no gushing rill in- 
vited to limpid waters nor generous waving branches spread 
their shade, we still must halt to serve refreshments and 

Our saddles soon were hung upon the ground and "But- 
tons, Whitey, Gray Billy, Bay Billy, Utah, Yauger and Julia" 
were given the freedom of the plain. With a prophetic ken, 
perhaps discerning that some miles must yet be passed 
before the spring and more inviting vegetation would be 
reached, they all at once betook themselves to cropping of 

1872 89 

the dried and stunted grass which barely found a foothold 
in spots among the rocks. 

A short time sufficed for us to wash down our "picnic" 
dinner with water from our canteens, which by this time had 
become unpalatable. For the most part, our ride had been 
made pleasant by a delightful breeze, yet at times we would 
encounter currents of air which seemed destitute of moisture 
and sufficiently heated to parch and cause to wither the most 
hardy vegetation. We were soon again in the saddle, pushing 
steadily forward for the mountain which in the near distance 
now skirted our southern horizon. As we approached the out- 
lying foothills of the range, the surface of the country became 
more broken and what had seemed but gentle slopes, afford- 
ing easy access to the mountain top at any point, now devel- 
oped into rugged cliffs. While yet the sun was lighting up 
the sandy waste through which we had steadily journeyed 
for the day, we entered a ravine and after ascending a short 
distance, came to the place designed for our first camp. The 
guide and George and I proceeded further up to find the 
spring, for as yet, though there were banks and gorges, there 
was no bubbling brook, no rivulet. In fancy I had pictured 
a mountain spring, gushing clear as crystal from the solid 
rock and falling into a laughing rill, to sparkle and sing on 
its errand of mercy to all who in their weariness should rest 
upon its grass grown banks, and slake their thirst, or bathe 
their temples in its limpid waves. Imagine my disappoint- 
ment when upon arriving at a 'mud puddle" containing 
possibly a barrel of water nicely stocked with "wigglers", 
I was told it was the spring.. 

To this inviting "pool" we led our thirsty steeds, while 
a few feet higher up we found the spring in truth — a sickly 
little stream lazily trickling from the hillside in quantities 
which would barely yield supply for one at a time to quench 
his thirst. But then it did not fail. We scooped a basin and in 
time secured sufficient water for our camp. We were now in 
one of the canyons of the Kaibab mountains. This range, 
though known as the Kaibab or Buckskin mountain is really 
a large plateau about 50 miles wide and more than 100 miles 
long with an altitude of from 6,000 to 8,000 feet above the 
level of the sea. The south part of this vast plateau is cov- 
ered with a beautiful forest of pine, fir and quaking asp. The 
surface is broken by ravines from 50 to 200 feet in depth, 


with gently sloping sides, rarely too steep for a horseman to 
ascend. The ground is covered with a liberal growth of grass, 
which in some of the valleys even becomes luxuriant, and all 
over hill and dale in rich abundance are scattered beautiful 
flowers of widely varying form and color. All this beneath, 
and a blue Italian sky with gently crowning arch for canopy 
rendered this a rare retreat for one who in the last decade 
had breathed but little else than schoolroom air. 

In reaching our camp we had increased our altitude by 
several hundred feet and the warmer currents of the plain 
had been exchanged for the delightful mountain breeze. The 
night was cloudy and with our blankets snugly tucked 
around us the balmy air brought comfort, rest and sleep. 

The 7th found us up betimes. While some, "a part of 
whom I was which", were busied with the morning meal, 
our Indian guides brought in the ponies and at an early hour 
"Old Whitey" was beneath her pack and we were in our sad- 
dles. Descending from our camp a short distance we crossed 
a ridge and entered Stewart's Canyon, up which we traveled 
and at 10 o'clock arrived at Stewart's Ranch. To the left of 
the canyon up which our morning ride had brought us was 
one of the finest illustrations of a "geological fault" I ever 
witnessed. At some places we could see the exact fissure 
along which the displacement had occurred. Indeed no coun- 
try in the world can compare with this region in the facili- 
ties offered for geological study. It would seem that as the 
Creator has hung systems of worlds in the firmament from 
which the astronomer may verify his theories, here, in this 
barren waste, He has cleft the solid rocks and laid bare the 
structure of this earth's crust for geological inspection. No 
wonder the Major is an enthusiast in his department when 
such grand opportunities are offered for scientific investiga- 
tion and verification of geological truths. 

Halting long enough at Stewart's Ranch to serve our- 
selves and steeds to water we resumed our journey. Our ride 
was up a beautiful ravine in which at times some signs of 
civilization were seen, some small patches of wheat, corn 
and potatoes irrigated by the waters of a magnificent spring 
which gushed out of the solid rock 100 feet above the level of 
the valley, gave a semicivilized appearance to the scene. 
But in the afternoon we left the valley and over hill and dale 

1872 91 

pursued our journey until we reached a little fountain which 
afforded water for our camp. 

My previous experience had taught me not to anticipate 
too much, and so this "watering place" was fully up to my 
expectations. True we had passed a magnificent spring dur- 
ing the day but it was the only one really deserving the name 
which I saw during our whole journey. The spring at which 
our camp was pitched was simply a round pool of water 
three or four feet in diameter and about one in depth. No 
stream issued from this pool and yet after we had with our 
camp kettles emptied the reservoir of the stagnant water, 
it soon filled with pure water and afforded an ample supply 
for our party. 

The 8th was set apart for a visit to the Grand Canyon of 
the Colorado, from our camp five or six miles distant. The 
Major, Prof. T. and wife, one of our guides (Ben) and myself 
composed the party, while George and Quah, the other guide, 
with rifle, started on the chase. Our route was down one of 
those beautiful valleys so common here, along which on 
either side, at intervals, were little dells, skirted with bal- 
sam, spruce and pine and beautifully decked with richly var- 
iegated flowers. At length we climbed a gentle slope and 
stood upon the brink. 

No language can describe the scene which greeted our 
eyes. Immediately beneath us, apparently within a stone's 
throw of our feet the opening chasm lay. Our point of ob- 
servation was upon the first precipice or upper bank of the 
Grand Canyon. At this point we judged it to be about 1,000 
feet high and nearly vertical. Then spread out at its base 
was a valley of red sandstone eight or ten miles wide through 
which the Colorado cuts its tortuous channel. All along the 
sides could be seen the lateral canyons which in the distance 
appeared like threads or cracks in the valley. 

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado is formed by the 
stream cutting through the southern end of the Kaibab Pla- 
teau. In its deepest place it measures full 6,000 feet, though 
the walls of this immense chasm are not single cliffs, but are 
composed of a succession of benches. So far as we could 
judge from the upper cliff there were two principal terraces 
as above described. 

We gazed upon the panoramic view spread out before us 
with intense interest and awe. Far to the southward was the 


Colorado, seemingly a silvery line, winding northward to a 
point which one unused to such immeasurable expanse and 
dizzy heights, would judge to be beneath his feet, but which 
was a full four miles away; then turning westward for some 
distance with strangely varying course it made a southward 
bend and the dim distance hid it from our vision. To the 
south of west lay the Yuimcaret Mountains. Three prom- 
inent peaks of this range have received the names of Stanton, 
Logan and Trumbull. To the north of west, the south end of 
the Pine Valley Range 100 miles away was clearly visible, 
and to the east and north lay the Kaibab plateau on the west- 
ern border of which we stood. 

An approaching storm warned us to quit the spot, nor 
longer stand bewildered amid this grand display of majesty 
and might; and so our steeds were headed toward our camp. 
The evening was cool and the threatening storms played 
around us giving us only an occasional sprinkle. As nightfall 
deepened into pitchy darkness the occasional sprinkle settled 
into a gentle rain which lasted until day dawned. Wrapped 
in our blankets beneath the spreading branches of a gener- 
ous fir, we found kind shelter from the storm and slept with- 
out fear of harm. 

The morning of the 9th was damp and after search we 
found our horses had wandered further than usual, which 
made it necessary for us to "break our fast" and dine before 
we left our black spring camp. With a supply of venison fur- 
nished by the skill of Quah the previous day, we feasted like 
a gormandizer at the table of Delmonico. 

Our route was to the southward over hill and dale. After 
a ride of 10 or 12 miles we reached a beautiful little fountain 
which we christened "Rocky Spring". Here we rested and 
while some of us were busied with the common cares of 
camp, Major and Prof. (Thompson) rode out to see the Can- 
yon from another point of view. We found here the purest 
and coldest water in our journey. These mountain springs 
are very peculiar little streams. In some quiet nook will be 
found trickling from the moss covered limestone a feeble 
little stream of water which forms a pool below, then for 
some rods the dampness of the ground will make the cur- 
rents till all is gone and the valley is dry as the surrounding 

1872 93 

The 10th dawned bright and beautiful and at the hour 
of 8 we left our camp directing our course somewhat east of 
south. We crossed some deeper gorges and scaled some 
more rugged cliffs than those encountered on the previous 
days. One peculiar feature of the country is the round val- 
leys several of which we passed. These hopper shaped or tun- 
nel shaped excavations are from 50 to 200 feet deep 
with gently sloping sides covered with pine and fir. 
As to their origin I hardly dare venture an opinion. The Ma- 
jor sugested that they are the work of tumbling cliffs which 
here and there have filled the mountain gorges. Prof. 
T., however, ventured the hypothesis that underneath, the 
earth is cavernous and these round valleys are occasioned 
by the settling of the earth in filling up these caves. 

A ride of six hours brought us to another "watering 
place", and we pitched our tent at Willow Spring, a rippling 
little brook flowing amidst luxuriant grass and willows and 
losing itself not 20 rods from its source. The Major, 
Prof, and I rode out to see the Canyon. Three miles brought 
us to the brink and here a sight surpassing any conception 
formed from previous views, met our gaze. Just over the 
brink 4,000 feet below the scraggy cedars looked like turf 
and far out upon the valley, cut and rounded into forms of 
beauty and grandeur, stood the sandstone buttes, like the 
castles of some monster race of giants. And, here, as where 
we first beheld this wonderful stream winding along its tor- 
tuous channel in the midst of the red sandstone valley, we 
could trace the gorge through which the mighty Colorado 
pours its waters. But we turned from this bewildering scene 
and hastened to our camp, leaving the further explorations 
of these wonders for the morrow. 

(It is interesting to note here what the Diary of Almon 
Harris Thompson states for Aug. 10, 1872, a Saturday (Utah 
Historical Quarterly, No. VIE) : "Went to Kanav (Kanab) 
Spring E.S. 10 miles from Rock Spring (or Willow Spring, 
as DeMotte called it) at 3 p.m., went to the river (the Colo- 
rado) 7 miles south. Struck the river first 3 miles from camp 
in a direction 30 degrees south of west. Same side canyon 
as we saw yesterday (Thompson and the Major) but then 
we were on the west side, today, on east at last point. Can- 
yon does not seem as deep as where we struck it yesterday. 
Saw uncomfortable rocks (the sandstone buttes). The side 



canyons reach back from 4 to 8 miles from the river. The 
upper canyon is from 6 to 10 miles wide at the top." 
(No mention is made of the ''merry party", or the presence 
of DeMotte on this particular date, presumably because 
Thompson felt his diary should reveal only the scientific ob- 
servations throughout, for the sake of the record — Ed.) 

The 11th of August was a bright, beautiful Sabbath and 
ere the sun could cast his rays on camp the Major, Prof, and 
I were in our saddles, intent upon a view of the grandest part 
of the Grand Canyon. No church going bell called to 
holy meditation and yet here in these solitudes one strongly 
felt the spirit of worship, for in these mountain fastnesses 
God's handiwork is seen and in the yawning gulfs toward 
which we hastened His awful majesty and power appear. 
Our ride was exceedingly pleasant and an hour brought us 
to a lateral canyon into which we gazed to see the rugged 
base chiseled into lines of beauty by the 3,000 feet which sep- 
arated us from it. Passing on to a projecting point we could 
see the Colorado winding its way amidst the wildest desola- 
tion. Far to the south lay the San Francisco mountains and 
north of west, in the dim distance, Mount Trumbull broke the 
line of our horizon. We gazed upon the wondrous scene 
spread out in panoramic view before us — a scene which no- 
where else on all this globe of ours can be found, and which 
few have ever witnessed. 

We sat in silent awe, spellbound, not speaking lest the 
magic power which held our spirits in mute ecstacy might 

Reluctantly we left the scene and turned our steps to- 
ward camp. Our view of the Grand Canyon was ended and 
we were now to make due haste to reach the Pahria river at 
which place the boats lay anchored and the boys awaited our 

Reaching Willow Spring Camp at two o'clock in the aft- 
ernoon, we at once pushed forward toward the northeast. 
For miles we rode along a narrow valley skirted with stately 
fir and spruce with here and there an occasional pine and 
clump of quaking asp — a lovely ride for Sabbath afternoon 
amidst scenery calculated to inspire holy meditation. At 
length our valley ended, and we were compelled to scale the 
ridge whose sloping sides and top were covered with a dense 

1872 95 

growth of forest pine and fir. We felt fully repaid however, 
when upon descending on the other side, we came 
upon a beautiful vale about 12 miles in length and one mile 
wide, covered with luxuriant grass and flowers and gently 
sloping from the heavily timbered ridges which completely 
shut it in. At intervals we found strange excavations, funnel 
shaped, in some of which was water in abundance. The pool 
near which we camped was probably 100 yards from edge to 
edge and 30 feet in depth. By some strange freak, the cause 
of which deponent doth not venture an opinion, the Major 
christened this lovely vale "DeMotte's Park." In after ages 
should the name thus thoughtlessly bestowed, adhere, the 
passer-by will quiz to know how such a beauty of a 
place could be assigned a name so void of poetry. (Unfor- 
tunately, the name did not "stick". Edwin Corle in Listen, 
Bright Angel states . . . "This is a particularly beautiful 
part of the Kaibab country (about 18 miles north of the rim, 
now Kaibab Lodge). Major Powell called it DeMotte park in 
1872 after a professorial member of his party, and later it be- 
came the famous V.T. Ranch — the initials standing for two 
cattlemen, Valentine and Townsend, according to Ranger 
Laes, and for Van Slack and Thompson, according to the 

It was the 12th of August, bright and early, and yet Jack 
Frost had left his careless traces in passing. The shin- 
ing crystals on the grass as well as fingers numb with cold 
reminded one of his altitude. We breakfasted early and left 
the lovely vale and lake. 

(Thompson's Diary (ibid) states: "Sunday, August 11th; 
This A.M. started on a S.E. course, for the river. Struck the 
canyon in 5 miles; that is the head of a side canyon; then 
went out 3 miles to a point about 3 miles from the river. At 
the next point to the east the river bends to north. We are 
at the angle of the bend. Back to camp and started for the 
Paria. Traveled 10 miles about N. Course up a can- 
yon across a ridge into a valley about one mile wide, ten 
miles long. Axis six degrees east of south. Depression 200 
feet. Called it DeMotte's Park. Camp at a lake. Monday, 
August 12th: Left camp at 7:30. Traveled E.N.E. course 15 
miles, when we came to the east slope of the plateau. The 
east side descends in two folds or rather one side of folds, 
each of 1,000 feet . . . east slope of mountain cut by canyons. 


Dip of first drop 25 degrees, second 15 degrees . . . went out 
in valley 8 miles direct N.E. to camp. Dry.") 

Bearing a little north of east at 10 o'clock we ascended a 
hill and far away before us lay the valley of the Colorado, 
not pinched and broken as we saw it in the mountain pass, 
but seemingly in one vast plain. Far out from the foot of the 
cliff upon which we stood the faint outline of Marble Canyon 
could be traced in zigzag course amid what seemed to be a 
trackless sandy desert. 

We now began the descent of the mountain, the 
first bench being about 1,000 feet. This was quite precipitous, 
rendering it necessary to dismount, and with some care, se- 
lect our path. The second bench was but a gradual slope but 
proved to be the equal of the first in altitude. In a side can- 
yon we found a little spring which yielded a supply of water. 
We dined and supped before we broke our rest. And when 
the sun had neared the western horizon we started across 
the sandy plain which lay between the Kaibab and the Colo- 
rado. Far out in this barren waste we made our camp, not 
having any water save what we carried on our can- 
teens. Early the next morning (the 13th) we were on 
the march and reached Clear Creek at 9 o'clock, where we 
found a plentiful supply of water. But 15 miles now separated 
us from our objective point At 12 o'clock we mounted and 
after passing thro' the most desolate, unforbidding section of 
country on the entire route, we arrived at the Pahria at 3 
o'clock in the afternoon. We had now reached an alti- 
tude 4,000 feet below the Kaibab range and sensibly felt the 
change. The bracing mountain atmosphere had given place 
to heated currents filled with drifting sand and no thermom- 
eter was needed to indicate the increased power of the solar 
rays, direct as well as those reflected from the jutting cliffs 
which here surrounded our camp. 

We met the boys and rested — rested because our work 
was done, our objective point was reached. How long 
we rested may be told another day. 
Thompson's Diary for the 13th says: "Traveled N.E. 4 miles un- 
til we struck the old Paria trail near the point of cliffs. Valley 7 miles 
from crest to crest. There is another fold near cliff on east side of val- 
ley. Made camp at mouth of Paria — 22 miles — at 4 p.m." (DeMotte's 
account states they "reached the Paria" at 3 p.m. But as Thompson's 

1872 97 

phrase "made camp" might cover the essential physical supervision 
of unloading the pack animals, selecting a site for Mrs. Thompson's 
tent, etc., the one hour's difference in time is accounted for— Ed.) 

It is interesting at this point to turn to the diary of "one of the boys" 
— a member of the river party — S. V. Jones; (Utah Historical Quar- 
terly Vol. 15-17) for Aug. 13. He was one of a group, including Powell's 
cousin, Clem, who had been awaiting the Major's arrival for nearly a 
month. Herbert Gregory, the editor of Jones' journal, states: "The ex- 
pedition plans for 1872 included a traverse of the Colorado below 
the mouth of the Paria in continuation of the traverse made in 1871. The 
down river trip was to start as soon as practicable after . .the river par- 
ty had brought the "Canonita" to Lee's Ferry (at the mouth of the 
Paria). But as Powell had decided to direct the boat party in person, lit- 
tle could be done during his absence. For reasons not fully explainable, 
Powell did not reach the river until Aug. 13th." 

(The reasons are "explainable" in light of the fact that the Major 
did not reach Salt Lake City until July 15, with DeMotte and party; 
spent the next week purchasing supplies and arranging for the mule 
team, etc; arranging for the telegraphic work to be done and starting 
his own trip by stage and team to join the base camp at Kanab, where 
Bishop and DeMotte arrived on Aug. 2, and the Major later in the after- 
noon of that same day. A rest of three days intervened, followed by the 
pack trip on the "Buckskin Mountains", with De Motte's account of that 
journey to record their day by day experiences until they reached the 
Paria— Ed.) 

Jones' diary for the 13th added: "Again spent the day in trying to 
keep cool. River rising and colored with red dirt. Fennemore (a pho- 
tographer) not so well. In the evening (colloquialism for any time after 
the noon dinner— Ed.) Major Powell, Prof. DeMotte, Prof. Thompson 
and wife, Adair and Indian Ben came in. They have spent the past week 
on the Buckskin Mountains. Jack, Fred and self took DeMotte and 
Thompson for a ride on the river." 

The Alumni Journal, Vol. HI, for February, 1873, carries the De- 


Motte story forward from the portion Six Days On The Kaibab from VoL 
I., as follows: 

From the Pahria to the Kaibab 

We reached the Pahria at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The 
day was excessively warm and after half a fortnight spent in 
the saddle, we felt somewhat fatigued. The surroundings 
were not calculated to add very much to the comfort of one 
just at the end of a long and wearisome journey. We had left 
the last watering place at noon, and reckoning the dis- 
tance to the Colorado only 15 miles, I deemed it scarcely nec- 
essary to replenish my canteen. The road was sandy, and the 
the bright sunlight, reflected from the surrounding plain, 
soon seemed to vaporize all moisture in our persons. I felt as 
charred and crisp as if I had been long pent up in some pat- 
ent hot air dry house, and my thirst began to be exceedingly 
annoying. Still I found comfort in the thought that soon the 
roaring waters of the Colorado would furnish an in- 
exhaustible supply, however great the demand might be. 

My disappointment can better be imagined than de- 
scribed, when, by winding around a projecting cliff and down 
a tortuous ravine, we suddenly came upon the brink of the 
river, only to find its seething waters turbid and uninviting, 
red as the sandstone cliffs that shut them in. I was assured, 
however, that the waters of the Pahria were clear as crys- 
tal, and, without so much as tasting the forbidding beverage, 
we pushed forward up the western bank a few hundred 
yards, in search of camp and the Pahria. 

There had been a freshet, and the swollen stream had 
made large deposits near its mouth. We found the ground ex- 
ceedingly treacherous, and some places quite impassable. 
Still, by perseverance, I succeeded, partly on a horse and 
then on foot, in reaching the bank of the Pahria. If my disap- 
pointment was great in first viewing the Colorado, imagine 
my utter discomfiture when I found the fanciful Pahria, with 
its crystal waters gurgling in rippling rivulets over a stony 
bed, in reality to be a little, muddy, sluggish stream, whose 
waters, resembling, both in consistency and color, dirty 
soapsuds, fairly slid upon their slippery bed. To drink was out 
of the question. I might possibly have sliced and eaten a por- 
tion. Making my way back to the Colorado through 
the tangled willows which grew in profusion in the canyon. 
I imagined that some wondrous magic had wrought its wa- 

1872 99 

ters into an inviting draught. I drank freely of the po- 
tion and found it pure and sweet and palatable. Of all places 
the mouth of the Pahria excels as an "out of the way place". 
How any one ever discovered it I know not, and how he ever 
returned to make known the sad tale of his discovery, I do 
not profess to understand. Possibly, if visited when the low 
lands along its banks were not all covered with a deposit of 
clay shale, closely resembling homemade soap, and the wa- 
ter of the stream the "dripping" of the same, one might be 
more enamored of the place. And yet, for all this, the scen- 
ery was not devoid of interest, and I found much to admire. 

After a refreshing rest, slaking our thirst at intervals 
again and again with the murky waters of the Colorado, we 
were invited to join in a boat ride. Jack (Hillers), Jones and 
Fred (Dellenbaugh) formed our crew, while Mrs. T., Lyman 
(Hamblin, one of the family of Jacob, the famous Mormon 
guide— Ed.) and myself embarked as passengers. We rowed 
against the current for nearly a mile, and left our footprints 
on the sands of the opposite shore. To ascend had been a la- 
borious voyage, to return to camp was delightful, free from 
labor. The boat glided along in the midst of the turbulent cur- 
rent, full of eddying whirlpools, which marked the monstrous 
boulders that lay beneath the waves, and yet we float- 
ed safely, for Jones, our trusty pilot, was at the helm. 

While here we shared the hospitality of John D. Lee, a 
strange eccentric character, whose true biography would re- 
cord many thrilling adventures and hair-breadth es- 
capes, and possibly throw light on many mysterious 
passages of Mormon history. This peculiar man, generally 
considered an outlaw (it was claimed that Lee had led the 
party into the famous Mountain Meadows massacre — Ed.) 
even by his own people, gave us a cordial welcome to 
his home, and served us to the best his larder could supply; 
and to us, who for eight days had been traversing hill and 
dale and sandy plain, climbing cliffs and making long de- 
scents over rocky slopes, the fare was sumptuous. 

That evening we sat down to feast upon green corn and 
squash, with bread and nice, sweet butter, coffee with de- 
licious flavor, rendered more inviting by the addition of rich 
cream, and chicken a la mode. I would that I could picture 
the surroundings — the house of logs and innocent of floor, 
whose foundations were not laid with square and compass, 
stood with gable pointing toward the south of east; along one 


side a shade, composed of leafy boughs, served well the pur- 
pose of verandah, from the outer edge of which suspended 
blankets hid the sun's rays from the evening meal. We ate, 
and joked, and passed the hour in social merriment, 
and then recrossed the murky little Pahria, plunging in mud 
and water half way to the knee to reach the opposite bank. 

The Major, more thoughtful than the rest, pulled off his 
shoes and crossed the stream dry shod. The merry hearted 
Jack (Hillers) had framed a generous bed of willow twigs 
for the Major, which upon invitation, without any urgent en- 
treaty, I shared. Though the day had been excessively warm 
the night was cool and pleasant, and weary nature 
soon yielded to the sweet enchantment of a quiet sleep. 

The 14th dawned bright and beautiful. The boys 
were busy in their preparation for the coming voyage, while 
(Indian) Ben was sent to bring the stock from the neighbor- 
ing ranch. The Major, knowing my aversion to an inactive 
life, with his accustomed forethought, had planned a morn- 
ing ramble in which I was to figure as principal and 
sole character. The thickness of some strata plainly exposed 
to view, some two miles distant, he desired to verify. 
So armed with an aneroid barometer, I was dispatched to 
take the altitude. At 9 o'clock I filled my canteen and started 
at a liberal pace to scale the rocky redoubt in the distance. 
Reaching the foot of the cliff without difficulty, I climbed 
and rested, rested and climbed again; sipping the wa- 
ter from my canteen sparingly, and wondering where the 
sport of climbing cliffs comes in. At length, after much weari- 
ness to the flesh, the desired altitude was reached, and 
proved to be 1,500 feet above the plain. The descent 
was much easier and at 3 o'clock I reached the camp, where 
thoughtful Andy (Hawkins) had my lunch in readiness. The 
horses had been brought by Ben, the boats were loaded for 
the voyage and George (Adair) and Lyman were transport- 
ing surplus baggage across the Pahria preparatory to an 
early start upon the morrow. 

That afternoon the boats loosed their moorings, and 
dropped below the Pahria about a mile, dancing among 
the breakers in the rapids which they passed like a thing of 
life. Nightfall found our party separated; those who were 
to continue the exploration of the canyon, in camp below the 

1872 101 

rapids; and those who were to return to Kanab, above, with 
things in readiness for an early start. * 

No one can fully appreciate the blessedness of sleep, un- 
til, after trudging for hours over the burning sand, climbing 
with difficulty rocky cliffs, weary and foot sore, he wraps 
his blanket around him, and beneath the bright blue sky, be- 
strewed with sparkling gems of light, he lays him down and 
loses consciousness in sweet repose. 

Just as the gray dawn was stealing over the east- 
tern mountains, I rose and went to bathe once more in the 
friendly Colorado. While performing my morning ablutions I 
heard a splashing noise, and, glancing in the direction from 
whence it proceeded, I discovered "Old Utah" floundering in 
the edge of the river, a few rods above me. George and Ly- 
man were soon summoned to the scene, and Ben dispatched 
to bear the news to Prof. T. (Utah was Prof.'s pet charger.) 
A hasty survey of the situation revealed the fact that Utah, 
while endeavoring to take on a supply of water, had ground- 
ed on a sandbar. It was no time for being fastidious; so, un- 
trammeled by our lower garments, we began the work of 
getting "the bark afloat". After three hours of faithful labor 
we succeeded in literally digging the unlucky horse, limb aft- 
er limb, and then dragging him bodily out to solid land. 

Through the kindness of Mrs. Lee, a good warm break- 
fast was in waiting for us. On account of the delay oc- 
casioned by this little episode, we did not leave until the aft- 
ernoon of the 17th. At 3, however, our train was put in mo- 
tion. George and Lyman each drove double teams, and Fen- 
nemore, who, from protracted illness was barely able to re- 
tain his seat, rode by the side of George, while Mrs. 
T., myself and Ben, each mounted on a charger, followed, 

1 Jones' diary for the same date records: "The Major in a great hur- 
ry to move, so loaded the boats. Jack (Hillers) is now chief photogra- 
pher for the expedition. He and Clem (Powell) will attend to the pic- 
tures. Prof. DeMotte climbed on the west side. We have unanimously 
voted him (to be) a brick. Indian Ben went up the Paria Canyon after 
the stock. At 5:30 p.m. we broke camp and ran % of a mile. Ran a small, 
swift rapid Va- of a mile before starting, then a short one just before land- 
ing, but big waves. In the last Jack broke an oar. Mrs. Thompson rode 
on the cabin of the "Canonita" ..." (i.e. before starting the real trip, 
as she accompanied DeMotte to Salt Lake City the next day — 
Ed.) Utah Historical Quarterly, Vols. XV-XVII, 1949. 


with a relief of four loose horses. Thus our train consisted 
of Mrs. T., George, Lyman, Ben and myself, six mules and 
nine horses, two wagons, and last but not least esteemed 
"Fuz." This "Fuz" was a cute little fellow; he was Mrs. T's 
constant companion, walking, chasing the timid hare, or 
mounting behind his mistress, and riding like a lieutenant at 
muster, at his pleasure. "Fuz" was certainly a very intelli- 
gent, well behaved dog. Ocassionally, however, he met with 
a mishap, though not always entirely his own fault. I now 
remember one which occurred, while riding along in true 
Indian style. I was somewhat in advance of Mrs. T., who had 
halted to allow her pet to mount to his accustomed place. 
To insure his safety she had tied one of the lashing strings 
of the saddle about his neck. I heard Mrs. T., in a somewhat 
earnest voice speaking of "Julia", and "Fuz" in true dog 
lamentation, bewailing his situation. Reining "Billy" to a 
right-about, I saw "Julia" in a 2-4 gait approaching, with 
Mrs. T., vainly endeavoring to bring her to a halt, while poor 
"Fuz" was dangling about the frightened horse's heels. For- 
tunately for all concerned, and especially for "Fuz" the 
string parted and he landed safe from harm on solid ground, 
while "Julia", freed from her usual pack, ceased her flight, 
and again became obedient to her rider. In crossing a little 
ravine, "Fuz" had unfortunately become unstable, and slip- 
ped off behind; and thus held dangling at the horse's heels, 
both dog and horse were frightened, the rider, however, be 
it said to her praise, all the time retaining her accustomed 
coolness and self-possession. 

Spread out before us over a hot and sandy plain were 
15 miles to be traversed before we could reach a watering 
place. The "good-bye" (to the river party,) being said, we 
moved along at measured pace, urging our animals as much 
as was judged prudent; and sometime after the setting sun 
had disappeared behind the cliffs which near our right rose 
vertical some 1,500 feet above the surrounding plain, 
we reached, and camped at, Willow Creek. 

Fortune favored us the following morning. Our stock had 
not wandered, so our train was soon in motion. Leaving Ben 
to care for the loose animals, Mrs. T. and myself rode in ad- 
vance, and by taking the Indian trail, we shortened the ride 
somewhat, to "Jacob's Pools", the point at which we were to 
dine. Here lived another family of the notorious John D. Lee, 

1872 103 

and hither he had preceded us the previous day. As at the 
Pahria, here again we shared again his generous hospitality. 
And here, too, hid away among the hills, was another home 
of this strange man. Far up the cliffs were the "Pools", lit- 
tle springs of water, one of which was rudely walled with 
stones, and which afforded an excellent supply of 
water. The house — would I were an artist that I might paint 
it true to life! — was constructed by setting poles upright, 
and interweaving willow boughs horizontally. The walls thus 
formed were possibly eight feet high, and for a roof the same 
material had been brought into requisition. Time had wrought 
upon this "fairy castle" and on most sides the willow 
twigs had fallen from the upright standards, until broken 
walls were scarcely three feet high. In this rude tenement 
which they called a home a wife and those who called her 
mother, lived — lived alone for weeks, the husband of this 
wife, the father of these children, often being gone to care 
for other families, which had an equal claim upon his pres- 
ence and his purse. 

Our course had been along the line of cliffs, first south- 
ward some 20 miles, then veering toward the west. At points 
along the way were strange unshapen heaps of stone, huge 
boulders, which had tumbled from the cliff and lodged 
in all conceivable shapes. Occasionally a cubic mass some 50 
feet in all dimensions, far out upon the plain, would 
be poised upon a pedestal not more than ten feet in 
diameter, and often it would seem that the merest breath of 
wind would be sufficient to topple these fantastic forms from 
their unstable base. Another point of interest to the observer 
is the petrified wood which is found in such abundance in this 
region. Sometimes the entire outline of whole trees can be 
traced in the solid rock, root, trunk and branches, being rep- 
resented quite perfectly. 

Along the road we passed directly over one of 
these mummies of some primeval forest, almost buried 
in the sand, whose outline was readily traceable for several 
feet. As we approached the "Pools" we saw upon the crest of 
an outlying sand hill, some hundred feet above the level of 
the plain, an Indian, with bow and quiver, wildly waving his 
hand, and gesticulating in the most vehement manner. It 
proved to be Quah, the guide, who parted company with us 


on our way to the river, and whose joy at our safe 
return found fit expression in these lofty gestures. 

Refreshments served, we again resumed our journey, 
Mrs. T., and myself following the trail which wound 
along the foot of the cliff,. while George and Lyman, with the 
guides, took the longer route, necessary for the wagons. Our 
evening camp was predetermined by the location of 
the nearest watering place some 12 miles distant. This point 
we reached before our train. Here, gushing from the solid 
rock, a limpid little stream makes its way for several rods, 
and then sinks beneath the sandy surface. From 
"House Rock Spring", the nearest way to Kanab, some 40 
miles away, lay over the Kaibab, along an Indian trail, while 
by a circuitous course, our wagons must travel at least 15 
farther. Fennemore having become somewhat stronger, it 
was determined that Mrs. T., himself and I, should try the 
trail while the train and guides should pass the longer way. 

It was Saturday the 19th, and a day's ride must bring us 
to Kanab, for we would find no water on the way at which to 
camp. We started early from our camp at House Rock. 
George, Lyman, Ben and Quah, with the train proceeded to 
the north to find the wagon way, and Mrs. T., Fennemore 
and I followed the Indian trail. The foot of the Kaibab was 
reached without much difficulty. The trail, however, grew 
dim, and finally disappeared altogether as we began the as- 
cent. We picked our way as best we could in climbing the 
rocky slope, sometimes on horse and then on foot, until we 
reached the summit. Taking a circuitous route, I fortunately 
discovered the trail, and on we rode without serious molesta- 

Occasionally in crossing some rocky ravine or climbing 
some ascending slope, the trail would become so indistinct as 
to baffle all attempt to follow it. However, by continuing our 
course, the trail again would be discovered. We reached the 
western slope of the plateau about the hour of twelve. Our 
horses were turned loose to pick the dried and stunted grass, 
while we prepared our frugal meal. Our coffee ready, we dis- 
patched our lunch with a keen relish. At 1 we mounted and 
pursued our way. 

Descending the slope of the Kaibab, we came upon a 
sandy plain covered with a rank growth of sage and cactus. 

1872 105 

Along the western horizon we could trace the line of cliffs, at 
the base of which lay Kaibab. Fleecy clouds were drifting 
northward, and an occasional shower of rain passed far in 
advance of us. Our steeds were now becoming thirsty, hav- 
ing had no water since morning. We, too, began to "long for 
the cooling draught", for our supply had been exhausted at 
the dinner hour. At last we came upon some little puddles of 
water, red as the sandy scallops which enclosed them. I dis- 
mounted, and with my cup succeeded in dipping, sip by sip, 
a scanty supply, which served to render our thirst 
more bearable. 

Mrs. T., especially, relished this beverage, offering the 
consoling remark that the water having just fallen from the 
clouds, we knew it to be pure, being mixed with nothing but 
clean dirt and gravel. I assented, of course, and drank again. 
On we rode, all three in tandem in the trail. The Eight Mile 
Spring we reached at 5 o'clock, where the recent shower had 
left deposited in a little basin four or five gallons of water. 
The spring itself had failed. We shared this bounteous gift of 
nature with our faithful chargers, and then pursued our jour- 
ney. Soon after the sun had sunk behind the western range, 
and the full orbed moon had climbed the distant hills over 
which our morning ride had brought us, "Utah, Julia and 
Bay Billy" safely landed us at our desired ha- 
ven, while "Fuz" went frisking to his tent, as cheery a dog 
as ever wagged a tail. 

To conclude the 1872 account, the Deseret News reported on Aug. 
30- -"We had a pleasant call yesterday from Brother James Fennemore, 
who arrived on Wednesday evening (the 28th) , accompanied by Professor 
H. C. DeMotte and Captain F. M. Bishop, from the Colorado, the three 
gentlemen being members of Major Powell's expedition. They left the 
river August 15th. We learn from Brother Fennemore that the expedi- 
tion will take a trip through Grand Canyon to Grand Wash. — which will 
take them about three weeks. 

"The reason why Brother Fennemore will not accompany the expe- 
dition as photographer, is because his health will not permit of his tak- 
ing the trip (down the river). Only think of the thermometer at 115 de- 
grees in the shade in the daytime, with dry, hot sands at night, and cool 
piercing breezes in the morning. 


"Major Powell being Indian Commissioner for the Southern tribes, 
will hold a grand council with the leading chiefs at Kanab about the first 
of October, after which he will proceed to Washington, where he will re- 
main for the winter, while Prof. Thompson and assistants run a base line 
from the Upper Sevier. After this latter work is done, the results of the 
labors of the expedition will be compiled and published, not the least in- 
teresting portion of which will be the 200 fine illustrations, the work of 
Photographer Fennemore, who is a well-known talented artist. Ma- 
jor Powell was highly pleased with his work in his department. 

"We have also, since writing the above, had (another) pleasant visit 
with Professor DeMotte and Captain Bishop." * 

The 1873 work of the field surveyors under Prof. Thompson did not 
include any Wesleyanites, but in 1874 Professor DeMotte records his par- 
ticipation in the work in the concluding chapter of this compilation from 
the Alumni Journal. 


1 Before leaving for Bloomington, Professor DeMotte "saw the sights" 
of Salt Lake City, later writing an article describing its 1872 features 
for the Alumni Journal. This, together with one written in 1874 in part 
by Mrs. DeMotte, appear in the appendix— Ed. 



The concluding account of Prof. DeMotte's work with the Powell ex- 
pedition is headed by his description of the scientific field equipment and 
the requirements of a topographer. The various portions of this chapter 
have been taken from issues of the Alumni Journal out of their chrono- 
logical order so that a clearer picture of the 1874 reports may be gained. 

Topographical Surveys 

To convey some idea of the nature, extent and accuracy 
of the survey as carried on by Major Powell's division, I will 
give a hasty description of the manner of working. As early 
as 1869, under the supervision of Prof. A. H. Thompson, the 
geographer of the expedition, a system of geodetic triangula- 
tion, similar to that of the Coast Survey was introduced and 
has been carried on ever since. This is the first, if not the 
only, complete system of triangulation with accurately meas- 
ured base lines that has ever been employed in the Territor- 
ial Survey. The base line is that upon which all the 
work rests, and upon which, to a great extent, the accuracy 
depends, and it should be measured with all the care and 
exactness possible. 

Major Powell's division has measured two base lines, 
about 250 miles apart — one in Kanab Valley, in northern 
Arizona, and the other in the Central part of Utah. The tri- 
angles of both bases were connected, and there was found to 
be a difference between the measured and computed Kanab 
base of nearly 12 feet, its length being between nine and ten 
miles. This was the accumulated error of measuring, of ob- 
serving and computing, and taking into consideration the na- 
ture of the country, the instruments, the time and number 
of men employed, it is even better than could be expected. 

In measuring a base line, as level a piece of country as 
could be found was selected, and at one end of it a stone mon- 
ument was erected. By an extended series of astronomic ob- 
servations, the exact latitude and longitude of this 
monument was found. From this point and on its meridian — 
that is, the exact north and south line passing through it — 
the base line was measured. The apparatus used was some- 



thing similar to that employed in measuring rods, the exact 
length of which, even to a hundredth part of an inch, were 
ascertained. To prevent their being exposed to heat 
and moisture they were enclosed in wooden cases. Every few 
hours the temperature of the rods, in connection with that of 
the atmosphere was noted, and the lengths of the rods test- 
ed, so as to detect and correct any contraction or. expansion. 
Of course any difference in this respect was exceedingly 
small — even the greatest difference amounted to only two 
or three hundredths of an inch; but, in measuring eight or 
ten miles, it would accumulate and become inches, mul- 
tiplied into rods and furlongs in the triangles, would finally 
become miles. The cases containing the rods were mounted 
on tripods, and had spirit levels attached, so that an exact 
horizontal position was maintained; in the cases just 
over the center of the rods were a number of little steel pins, 
by means of which an observer at a theodolite placed on the 
meridan some distance ahead could keep them exactly on 
the line. At right angles to the line, and a short dis- 
tance from it, was another theodolite; and the cross-hairs in 
the telescope, fixed on some point on the stationary case, 
would indicate the slightest jar or movement while the other 
cases were being moved. 

With so much care and pains, the progress of measur- 
ing was very slow — only a few hundred feet a day — and 
when the wind was blowing no work could be done. At the 
terminus of the base line, another monument was built, and 
from these monuments the bearings of a number of peaks 
which had been selected, and upon which signals had been 
placed, were taken. 

As there is liable to be an error in leveling or adjusting 
the instrument, or one caused by refraction, a series of an- 
gles are observed between the same points at differ- 
ent times, and the mean is the final angle used in computa- 
tion. Having one side and two angles, by a principle in trig- 
onometry, we can calculate the lengths of the other sides. 
These are in turn used as bases of other triangles and so on, 
till they are extended over the whole country. The stations 
of primary or geodetic triangulation are from 25 to 30 miles 
apart, and selected so as to form, as nearly as possible, an 
equilateral triangle. To facilitate the observations a large 
flag of red and white cloth is placed on each peak. 

1874 109 

These flags are frequently distinguished through the tele- 
scope of the instruments, at a distance of 50 miles. In the 
geodetic triangles all three of the angles are observed, and 
in summing up, or what is called "closing the trian- 
gle", there is always an excess, more or less, according to 
the size of the triangle, which is called the "spherical excess 
caused by the curvature of the surface of the earth"; in the 
final computation this is ascertained and eliminated. As this 
work is all done at an altitude of several thousand feet above 
the level of the sea, in order to correspond to the astronomi- 
cal observations, another set of computations must be made 
with the base line reduced to sea level. 

The primary system of triangulation is the skeleton or 
frame work of the entire survey; on it are based the minor 
systems, and each triangle becomes a network of smaller 

The secondary and tertiary systems are carried on with 
less care and precision, for they are continually being 
checked by the primary points, so that an error is easily de- 

The triangulation work is followed by that of sketching, 
most of which is done with plane table; but in addi- 
tion to this, there are landscape and drainage sketches, 
taken from the peaks; and profile and trail sketches, taken 
along the line of travel. In the trail work a meander is made 
of all the trails and roads, as well as the streams and can- 
yons, in so far as it is possible. 

Along the line of travel, at short intervals, a trail station 
is made, bearings are taken to the surrounding points, and 
sketches are made. In a country where there is so 
much trachyte, basalt, and other volcanic rock, a magnetic 
compass is useless for giving direction; but in surveying by 
triangulation very little reference is made to direction un- 
til the map is constructed, then the astronomic observations 
are worked up. When it is necessary, however, it is found by 
azimuth observation. 

One of the most important features of the survey is the 
hypsometric work, determining data not only for geographi- 
cal purposes, but forming the basis of most of the geographi- 
cal work. In determining the absolute altitudes, the cistern 
or mercurial barometer is used; and for relative altitudes 
the aneroid barometer and vertical angles are employed. 


The principle of the barometer is so well understood that 
I will not attempt to explain it, except to say that the pres- 
sure of the atmosphere at sea level — which is equivalent 
to the weight of a column of mercury about 30 inches 
in height — is taken as the initial point or zero. As we ascend 
from the level of the sea the pressure becomes less, and it 
decreases as the distance above sea level increases. This 
fact is the principle used in the construction of the barom- 
eter; hence, when the atmosphere pressure at any point is 
known its altitude can be determined. Were no other element 
to enter into the case, were there no causes affecting 
the condition of the atmosphere, the process of determining 
altitudes would be a very simple one; but as there are 
a number of things that affect it, varying the pressure, the 
process becomes a very complicated one. In making baro- 
metric observations, the condition of the atmosphere, as in- 
dicated by the degrees of temperature and of humidity, by 
the force and direction of the wind, by the amount and char- 
acter of the clouds, etc., are taken into consideration. In pro- 
portion as meteorological science is understood, and the ex- 
tent of the atmospheric changes becomes known, does hypso- 
metric work become more accurate and reliable. 

As a basis for the hypsometric work, a number of sta- 
tions are selected, the altitudes of which have been deter- 
mined, either by railroad levels or by a long series of baro- 
metric observations; these are called base stations. They 
are selected some distance apart, and, as nearly as possible, 
in opposite directions from the field of work. A storm will 
sometimes alter the reading of the barometer, though it may 
not have come within 50 miles of it. The existence of such 
a storm, as well as the extent and effect of it, is made known 
by the barometers at the base stations. At all these stations, 
as well as by all the parties in the field, the barometer is read 
three times a day, and during a certain number of days in 
each month, every hour, so that by these simultaneous ob- 
servations, made over a large area, any local or general dis- 
turbance in the atmosphere can be ascertained. In determin- 
ing the altitudes of the geodetic and the more important topo- 
graphical stations, a series of observations are made with 
the mercurial barometers both on the top and in camp at the 
base of the mountain; and by angles of elevation or depres- 
sion the heights of all the surrounding points are determined. 

1874 111 

By this hasty description one may get some idea, not only of 
the care and labor involved, but of the results attained in 

For a number of years the rendezvous of the survey has 
been at Gunnison, Utah. Here the parties are equipped and, 
with their instructions, sent to their respective fields of work. 
The mode of traveling is mostly on horseback, yet not a small 
portion of it is done on foot. The provisions and instruments 
are carried by pack mules, and as but comparatively small 
amounts of provisions can be carried in this manner, the 
greatest expedition is necessary in order to finish the work 
allotted before the supply is exhausted. It is not only work 
fast, but work all the time, a Sunday or a day of rest being 
a luxury seldom known in the field. Horseback space is too 
valuable to allow anything so superfluous as a tent to be 
carried along; so when it rains — which it does more than half 
the time — if shelter cannot be found under a tree or behind 
a rock, one must go unsheltered. He soon becomes so accus- 
tomed to it that the rain does not in the least interfere with 
either working, traveling, eating or sleeping. Usually, after 
traveling a day, the next is spent in camp, while the topog- 
rapher climbs a peak and makes a station; it frequently 
happens that this latter work must be done in addition to the 
usual day's travel. 

The work of the topographer is one of the most severe 
and trying occupations in which a man can engage — trying 
not only to his physical, but to his mental and moral powers 
as well; mental, for daily, and almost hourly, he is tried and 
driven to his wit's end, his ingenuity taxed to its utmost to 
surmount difficulties and devise means to overcome the ob- 
stacles in his way; — moral, well, this is a delicate subject, 
but I defy any man, I do not care if he be a minister of the 
gospel, to spend a season in topographical work and sustain 
unwrinkled the strict straightness of his moral rectitude. 
With a topographer his work is his master, and no master is 
more severe. It drives him to all sorts of exposures and 
dangers. It drives him from the sweetest of slumbers, at the 
earliest break of day; and with a hastily eaten breakfast of 
bread, jerked beef, and coffee — straight and strong enough 
to float a pistol cartridge — he is off for the mountain. 

To climb a mountain for pleasure, once or twice in a 
man's lifetime, may be very interesting and very romantic; 


but when it gets to be an everyday experience, with climbs 
ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 feet, it becomes seriously inter- 
esting, and loses a great deal of its romance— indeed, it is 
downright hard work. On the mountain tops it rains nearly 
every day, generally in the afternoon; this requires an early 
presence and the greatest dispatch in order to finish 
the work before the storm comes. When the work is not com- 
pleted, as is frequently the case, you will have to sit down 
and wait for the storm to pass ; or else the mountain must be 
climbed another day. Now, to be in a storm, on top 
of a mountain, is anything but pleasant, and particularly so 
if there is no tree or rock to afford a shelter. It is a mixture 
of wind, rain, snow, hail, thunder and lightning that makes 
your head swim; and, when the air is surcharged with elec- 
tricity, and it goes whizzing and humming from the point of 
every rock near you, making your hair stand on end and your 
fingers tingle, you begin to wonder if you are in the infernal 
regions rather than on top of a mountain. If the storm passes 
in time to allow you to finish your work and reach your horse 
at the foot of the mountain before dark, you are in luck. But 
if you are detained, or the party has moved on 10 or 15 miles, 
it is most probable that you will not reach camp till late in 
in the night, or the next morning. If the trail is good and the 
horse is fleet, you may feel pretty sure of reaching camp; if 
the reverse, you had better tie your horse to a tree; and, if 
you are not afraid of attracting some vagabond Indian that 
is wandering around, build a fire and pass the night as com- 
fortably as you can. In such a fix, tired, hungry, cold, and, 
perhaps, soaking wet from the storm of the mountain, I know 
of nothing more pleasant and entertaining, nothing better 
calculated to raise one's drooping spirits, than to be surround- 
ed by a pack of howling wolves and coyotes. 

Rough? Yes, somewhat, but not an exceptional experi- 
ence in the life of a topographer. Dutton says: "The life of 
a topographer is pleasant or the reverse, according to the 
man's physical powers," and that the primary requirements 
for it are a cast iron constitution, a copper lined stomach, and 
a pair of bellows for lungs. 

The region of our survey presents a variety and grandeur 
of scenery found nowhere else. The western portion is tra- 
versed by a series of lofty mountain ranges, embracing 
some of the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Lying 

1874 113 

east of this section, and separating it from the canyon country 
is a line of great plateaus which traverse the country for 
many hundred miles. These plateaus have an altitude rang- 
ing from 10,000 to 12,000 feet. Below and east of this is the 
canyon country, one of the most remarkable regions ever ex- 
plored. Nowhere else on the face of the globe has anything 
been found similar to it. Some portions of it are so cut to 
pieces as to become literally labyrinths of precipitous canyons, 
ranging in depth from 50 to 6,000 feet. The survey of this 
country is doubly difficult — almost impossible; yet there is 
no portion of it that has not been visited by some part of the 
expedition. This, however, has been accomplished only by 
the most severe labor and privation, both men and animals 
having gone several successive days without water. The 
geological structure of the country is both varied and pecu- 
liar; and owing to the extraordinary exposure of rock, it 
forms an interesting field for the study of geology. 

Major J. W. Powell, by his daring and successful explor- 
ation of the Colorado river and its tributaries, has earned a 
national reputation. The bold, original and hazardous project 
of descending the Green river to its junction with the Grand, 
where the two unite to form the Colorado, through its mys- 
terious and before unknown canyons, to the head of naviga- 
tion was thought to be the fanciful creation of a wild or mad- 
dened brain, or of a no less insane scientific fanatic. But it 
remained for the bold projector to realize the dream of his 
ambition and to carry to a successful issue, his hazardous 

To have any just conception of the magnitude and danger 
of the undertaking, one must stand on the brink of those fear- 
ful precipices and gaze upon the turbulent waters of the 
mighty river, reduced by distance to a mere thread of silver 
light, wending its seemingly quiet course amidst the dark 
cavernous recesses of the vast channel which it has been 
the work of ages to carve out. 

During the summer of 1872 in company with the Major 
I spent six days on the Kaibab Plateau and had the privilege 
of going into the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. This can- 
yon, the deepest on the continent, probably in the world, is 
formed by the Colorado cutting through the southern end 
of the plateau. 


I well remember the morning set apart for a visit to its 
brink. No language can adequately describe the scene which 
greeted our eyes. Just beyond the precipice, 4,000 feet below 
the scraggy cedars looked like turf; and far out upon the 
valley cut and rounded into forms of beauty and grandeur 
stood the old red sandstone buttes like the deserted castles 
of some monster race of giants. Winding along in a varying 
tortuous channel we could trace the gorge through which the 
mighty Colorado pours its noisy flood, while 6,000 feet below 
our point of observation a silvery thread of light, weaving 
its graceful curves along this yawning chasm, marked the 
water line of this restless river. 

But, to more fully comprehend the dangers which beset 
these bold explorers in their perilous voyage, one must gain 
a nearer view, pass down with circuitous windings the almost 
perpendicular ledge and stand at the river's brink, and listen 
to the thunderings of its uneasy waters as they are lashed 
into foaming billows or sent into eddying whirlpools in at- 
tempting to pass the rocky channel. 

Along a sandstone cliff, lying some distance from the 
base, I saw huge boulders which had become detached from 
the rocky wall. Some of these were massive cubes 50 feet 
in dimensions. Now imagine a great crack in the earth, a 
thousand feet deep, lined at the base with these huge bould- 
ers, tumbled together in any haphazard way, and you may 
have some faint idea of the channel of the Colorado in these 
canyons. And force a volume of water equal to the Ohio 
river, along this channel with a velocity acquired by a fall 
of 100 feet in almost that many rods, and you may begin to 
form some conception of a rapid in the Grand Canyon. 

The descent of these canyons was made in small boats 
about 22 feet long. These boats were made in Chicago, ship- 
ped to Green River Station on the Union Pacific railroad and 
there launched for the (1869) voyage. The descent was full 
of incident and peril. Occasionally, in running a rapid, a 
boat would capsize and empty its precious freight of human 
lives into the boiling torrent. I will relate a single incident as 
given me by Mr. Hillers, one of the oarsmen of the Major's 
boat, (1871-72 expedition). 

They were in the Grand Canyon (below the Paria after 
August 17th, op.cit.) had run a number of rapids and were 
getting along successfully, although much exhausted. They 

1874 115 

came upon one which from its wild and deafening roar caused 
them to hesitate. After reconnoitering the Major decided to 
attempt its passage, and into the foaming current they turned 
their little bark. They had well nigh passed the rapids when 
some unlucky stroke or adverse current sent the boat side- 
wise into the breakers, and in an instant its inmates were 
emptied into the murky stream. The Major, coming to the 
surface, succeeded in seizing hold of the boat, and thus kept 
himself above the angry waves. Mr. Hillers was less fortu- 
nate. He struggled for a moment in the seething cauldron of 
billows, when a whirlpool current seized him and sent him 
headlong to the bottom, how far below the surface he could 
not tell; then suddenly changing, it shot him toward the sur- 
face, and in passing he seized a human foot. He heard the 
Major lustily shout, "You'll pull me from the boat." Remem- 
bering that the Major had but one arm to aid him in this life 
and death struggle with the waves, generous fellow that he 
was, he loosened his hold on what seemed to be his only hope 
of life; but by an almost superhuman effort he forced his way 
to the surface, fortunately in reach of the boat. To right the 
boat was the work of only a moment, and then the dripping 
Major and his trusty oarsman climbed into the floating vessel 
and guided it into a little eddy at the foot of the rapid. Upon 
casting about for the other oarsman and the helmsman (S.V. 
Jones and Fred Dellenbaugh: the date, Sept. 3rd: diaries of 
S.V. Jones, and Clem Powell, Utah Historical Quarterly Vols. 
XV-XVII, 1949), they discovered one safe upon the shore 
whither some friendly current had tossed him, the other at 
the foot of the rapid, upon a projecting boulder in the midst 
of the stream. (This latter statement is probably from Hil- 
ler's other miraculous escape the same day — Ed.) 

But it is useless to attempt a word picture of the awful 
grandeur and sublimity of those wild and mighty chasms. 
Nowhere on the globe can their equal be found; and he who 
visits other lands to witness the majesty of Nature leaves 
behind more grandeur than will meet his gaze on foreign 

But it is my design to speak more particularly of my own 
personal observations and experience during the summer of 

For sometime previous, Major Powell had been prosecu- 
ting his surveys and explorations under the direction of the 


General Government, the expenses of the expeditions being 
paid by appropriations from the national treasury. Congress 
having ordered the publication of one volume of his report, 
he desired to examine somewhat more minutely the geology 
of that section of the country included in the report and, also, 
to present a map of the country by which the geology and 
general description of that region might be the better illus- 
trated. Partly, because of old friendship and partly because 
he thought I might render the service necessary, I was in- 
vited to take the position of topographer. 

Those of you at all familiar with the geography of the 
territories will remember that a spur of the Rocky range 
runs directly southward along the western border of Wyo- 
ming Territory passing just east of the Great Salt Lake and 
terminating in some high peaks in Southern Utah. This, in 
the region of the Salt Lake, is known as the Wasatch range. 
The basin between this spur and the main Rocky range is 
drained from the north, southward by the Green River; 
farther down, the White enters on the east, (not on the west 
as our geographies sometimes tell us) and the Uintah on the 
west. Still farther down, the Green and the Grand unite to 
form the Colorado. Just opposite Salt Lake City, on the east 
side of the Wasatch range and north of the Uintah river, 
the Uintah mountains extend toward the east, partially cut- 
ting off the basin formed by the Wasatch and the Rocky 
range. After leaving Green River Station, where the Union 
Pacific crosses the Green, that stream pursues a very 
crooked, meandering course southward about 50 miles, when, 
reaching the Uintah range, it turns almost at a right angle 
toward the east passing through Flaming Gorge and Red 
Canyon to Brown's Park. After skirting the range for 20 
miles or more, it again turns southward cutting through the 
range by the canyons of Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain 
to reach the level plains bordering on the White and Uintah 

The work of this (1874) special expedition was to pass 
down the Green on the eastern side to the White, traversing 
a belt of territory from ten to twenty miles wide, and then 
return on the west side to Green River Station— the point of 
departure. We were to take our outfit at Green River Sta- 
tion; so, in company with Prof. Thompson and his party who 
were to continue the survey in southern and central Utah, 

1874 117 

on the 11th of July I left home and friends, taking the pre- 
caution, however, to have accompany me the one whose 
presence makes my home. It was not decided, upon leaving, 
hew far Mrs. D. should accompany us, but the sequel showed 
that she spent some weeks in the City of the Saints. Upon 
arriving at Green River Station we learned that the Major 
had been detained at the Capitol (Washington, D.C.) and 
that our party would not be ready to begin work for some 
days. Accordingly, upon invitation of Prof. Thompson, I ac- 
companied his party to Salt Lake City and spent a few days. 

On the 27th of July, in response to a dispatch from the 
Major, I reported at Green River Station for duty. 

Our party consisted of the Major as geologist, Hillers 
as photographer, Wheeler in charge of the barometer, Pilling, 
the Major's private secretary and reporter, Layman, who 
had charge of the pack train, Bruce as cook, and myself in 
the role of topographer. Ours was a motley crew, and cer- 
tainly did not become monotonous for want of variety. Pill- 
ing was a Roman Catholic, Wheeler the son of a Methodist 
preacher, a good boy too, Hillers a free and go easy Dutch- 
man, with a soul as big as a half bushel; Layman hailed 
from that portion of Oregon where it is reported as a current 
fact that the people in the spring time row about in canoes 
hunting for the well while the children cry for water; Bruce 
served as a sergeant in the Confederate army under General 
Price; and the Major is — is a gentleman and a scholar, every 
inch of him. 

Our pack train consisted of 18 animals, 10 pack and eight 
saddle horses, the Major taking a relay on account of the rid- 
ing he anticipated in the survey. It would be interesting, no 
doubt, could I paint a picture of the scenes which occured 
on the morning of our departure; but it is useless for me to 
make the attempt. Rations for two months, blankets for sev- 
en, and such instruments as were necessary for the scientific 
work of the party had to be carried on horses and mules. A 
small photograph gallery was included in the inventory. The 
pack for each animal, after parceling out the baggage, 
varied from 150 to 200 pounds. This load, in the form of flour, 
bacon, beans, dried apples, jerked beef, sugar, salt, soap, 
soda, coffee, kettles, pans, tin cups, knives, spoons, blankets, 


matches, tripods, gradientor, theodolite, platting table, forks, 
and many other unmentionables, was to be strapped on the 
patient brute by an ingenious entwining of the lash rope in 
many mystic folds about the burden, forming what our pack- 
er dignified with the imperial name of "the diamond tie." 

Most of our animals were wild, just from the range. You 
can better imagine than I can describe the exhibi- 
tion of fleetness and agility given by some of them upon be- 
ing turned loose with a pack securely lashed upon their 
backs. But they soon find the utter impossibility of re- 
leasing themselves from the burden, and quietly take their 
place in the train. It is not customary to lead the animals in 
a pack train. After the packs are in position, the animals are 
allowed the utmost freedom, and, when the train moves, one 
of the party rides in advance, the pack animals following in 
the trail, while another member of the party brings up the 
rear and observes whether everything is keeping properly 
to its place. 

We left Green River Station on the 30th of July, making 
our first camp only three miles down the river. As before 
stated, the Major's especial field was geology and mine, to- 
pography. Mr. Hillers accompanied the expedition to secure 
photographs of such scenes and scenery as the Major wished 
to use in illustrating and embellishing his report, while Mr. 
Wheeler carried a mercurial barometer and took the read- 
ing every day at 7 o'clock in the morning, at 2 in the after- 
noon, and at 9 in the evening. My work required a great deal 
of riding and climbing, for, from prominent peaks, I was ex- 
pected to take bearings and guess at distances from which 
to plat a map of the surrounding country. Of course 
this could only be a work of approximation as I had no meas- 
ured base line upon which to construct the map. I carried the 
map of the river and occasionally would get bearings upon 
some bend which would aid in correcting any errors which 
had entered into my field notes, but for days at a time 
I would be beyond range of the river, and left to my own 
lucky guesses as to the correctness of my work. 

Let me briefly sketch the plan I adopted. I kept a trail 
book in which I recorded each day's observations, an entry 
of what we termed stations, points, distances, bearings, al- 
titudes, time and camp. Stations were places visited from 
which bearings were taken with a prismatic compass. Points 

1874 119 

were prominent objects the bearings of which were taken 
from stations, but which were not visited. The distances were 
simply guesses as to the intervening space between stations 
and points. The bearings were the reading in degrees and 
minutes of the prismatic compass. The altitude was record- 
ed from an aneroid barometer; and the time of observation 
was noted by an accurate Elgin watch. In platting the sur- 
vey, the camps were located and numbered in the order in 
which they were made. We generally moved camp from five 
to 15 miles, but occasionally had to go 20 or 25 miles to secure 
water and grass for our train; for you must bear in 
mind that we depended entirely upon grazing for food for our 
horses. As soon as a camp was pitched and the animals re- 
lieved of their burdens, they were turned loose to feed upon 
whatever herbage they might be able to find; and in 
the morning our packer would drive the band to camp, and 
bright and early those of us who required it would mount and 
ride away, traversing the wild and barren wastes or climb- 
ing some bristling crag or rocky peak "to view the land- 
scape o'er", while the packer and cook would mount the 
packs and move to another camp. Before leaving in the 
morning the Major would announce about where the 
next camp would be, so that those of us who were traversing 
the country regardless of any trail might have some 
idea whither to turn our steps when the lengthening shadows 
warned us of approaching night. 

I am no geologist and yet I may be able to give you some 
idea of the geological formation of the region along 
the Green river. No other place in the union equals the Col- 
orado and its tributaries, with the adjacent mountain ranges, 
for geological investigations. Here the geologist is at home 
with Nature and has the crust of the earth laid bare before 
his eager eye. In passing from Green River Station to the 
Grand Canyon on the Colorado one may examine 36,000 feet 
of the earth's crust, and determine its structure as readily 
and accurately as could be done were the walls of some vast 
chasm 36,000 feet deep exposed to view. The Uintah range 
which we crossed in our survey, was of peculiar interest to 
the Major, exposing as it does a large section of the crust of 
the earth for scientific investigation. 

Most of the country traversed is broken and barren — in 
some places mountainous — with intervening valleys, 


in some of which we found excellent water and grass. These 
valleys, however, are narrow, frequently not more than 100 
yards wide, and occasionally narrowing to a mere pass or 
canyon proper. For the most part, the soil, where 
there is any, is sandy, much of the stone being sandstone of 
various varieties. The Uintah sandstone, of which the Uintah 
range is principally composed, is very compact, fine grained 
and almost as hard as flint. Occasionally we crossed ledges 
of limestone and cliffs of chalcedony in which the famous 
moss of agate is found. In the lower altitudes were beds of 
variegated marl, which, by the action of the silent forces of 
Nature, are worn and cut into all sorts of fantastic shapes, 
forming what are known as bad-lands — regions almost des- 
titute of vegetation, and through which a horse passes with 
difficulty because of the soft, ashy character of the ground. 

In all the region which I sketched, including a belt of ter- 
ritory about 100 miles long and from 20 to 50 miles 
wide, there is scarcely a township of tillable land. We visited 
five or six ranches. At two of them we met hospitable friends 
whose kind offices added much to the comfort of our camp. 
At the lower end of Brown's Park, where the waters of the 
Vermillion mingle with the Green, we made the ac- 
quaintance of Judge Conoway, who in his boyhood days lived 
near Le Roy, in McLean county, 111. The Judge evidently is 
a man of more than ordinary talent, and is one of the leading 
lawyers in the Territory. He has located a stock ranch at a 
beautiful spring on the Vermillion about three miles from 
Green river. Health and hunting led the Judge to these west- 
ern wilds, and amid their desolate scenes he has spent six 
years. Judging from his serviceable garb of well tanned buck- 
skin, he has become a real mountaineer. 

In the region which we explored there was but little pros- 
pect of mineral wealth. In some localities iron ore was plen- 
tiful and, at times, I experienced some difficulty in using the 
compass because of the magnetic disturbance. In a few spots 
some adventurous miners had been prospecting for the pre- 
cious metals, and some evidence of silver and copper 
ore were observable in some localities. However, nothing of 
any great value had been discovered. 

The topography of the country is very peculiar. I never 
realized how imperfect our western maps are until I visited 
the region which they profess to represent. During the sum- 

1874 121 

mer of 1872, we camped one night near a beautiful 
little spring, at an altitude of about 8,000 feet. Upon consult- 
ing a map, it located us near the Colorado river; and yet by 
actual travel we proved that stream to be distant more than 
100 miles. 

The geology of any country gives it its peculiar 
topographical features; hence, in these mountain regions, 
which are noted for such wonderful upheavals and foldings 
of the stratified rocks, and the frequent ejection of those of 
igneous formation, no wonder than an accurate chart shows 
some strange configurations and fanciful freaks of the many 
winding streams which form the drainage. 

We found plenty of game, consisting of deer, antelope, 
elk, mountain sheep, bears and wolves, and occasionally, 
the American or mountain lion and wild cat, with such 
smaller game as beaver and otter, along the streams, and 
plenty of rabbits and sage hens, with occasional pheasants. 
In some of the mountain streams we found an abundance of 
excellent trout, and, in the Green river, a good va- 
riety of fish. Our work was such as generally prevented us 
from coming close upon game. However I might at times 
have made a good shot, had I been properly equipped. The 
extent of my weapons, defensive and offensive, were a Smith 
and Wesson revolver, pocket size, and an old case knife. But 
my revolver was no insignificant fowling piece, and I occa- 
sionally brought down a rabbit or sage hen, and at one time 
I ventured far enough to coax a porcupine from his hiding 
place among the branches of a stately fir. 

The territory visited is truly an uninhabited region. The 
Indian tribes which used to roam along its streams and over 
its mountain fastnesses are now on reservations and only 
make occasional excursions for game. While riding along one 
morning selecting a route for our train, as I ascend- 
ed a ridge, retracing my trail, I suddenly came upon two In- 
dians, armed and mounted. They had come upon my 
trail and were following to discover my whereabouts. I con- 
fess to have felt a little startled but I knew it was no time to 
show fear. So I called to them a hearty good-morning and 
immediately put spurs to my horse and galloped to the spot 
where they had halted. I entered into conversation 
with them, partly by signs and partly by broken English and 
worse broken Indian, and soon learned that they were from 


the Uintah tribe, on a hunt. I waited until our train came up 
and then, giving directions as to our next camp, I betook my- 
self to my especial work, leaving the Indian hunters to fol- 
low on to camp and to beg a hearty meal and then return to 
the chase again. 

We made but little preparation for rain, as the Major 
said we were to be in what is generally regarded as a rain- 
less region. It proved to be quite the contrary, much to our 
discomfort, for we were exposed to several hard rains 
besides some very unpleasant showers of hail. On the 10th of 
August I was traversing the Quartzite Plateau or mountain 
at an average altitude of about 7,000 feet. The morning had 
been cloudy with occasional showers, but about 11 o'clock a 
heavy, portentious cloud in the west betokened an approach- 
ing storm. I descended from the little knoll upon which I was 
making some observations, to a small clump of aspen, which 
I thought might afford some shelter. Tying my horse and 
carefully wrapping my rubber blanket around me I awaited 
the approaching cloud. My suspense was not of long dura- 
tion for the blast soon broke upon the mountain with the fury 
of a hurricane, and the hailstones fell like a shower of grape 
and canister belched forth from the artillery of heaven. The 
livid lightnings played athwart the sky and ran in frantic 
leaps along the ground, while the trumpet toned thunders 
spoke in one unbroken chorus. The cloud soon passed and 
left the ground white with hail, while the piercing winds had 
chilled me through and through. The ever present sage 
brush — the traveler's friend in those wild wastes — and a 
trusty match soon afforded a comfortable fire, and an hour 
had not passed before the sun was shining clear and warm 
from an unclouded sky, and I was at my post of observation. 

The altitude of our camps varied greatly, ranging from 
4,500 feet to 8,000 feet. This gave us a great variety of cli- 
mate. On the 2nd of Sepember we pitched our camp at some 
water pockets on the Yampa Plateau at an altitude of about 
7,000 feet. The day had been rainy and unpleasant. The aft- 
ernoon grew cold and flakes of snow were drifting through 
the air. With the aid of some willow branches I arranged our 
saddle blankets in the form of a Sibley tent of sufficient di- 
mensions to shelter the head of our couch from the storm; 
and, all hands having brought a good supply of cedar wood 
from the adjoining cliff, the Major and I prepared our toilet 

1874 123 

for the night. The little "wick-a-up" which I had constructed 
admirably protected our heads, and our rubber blankets fur- 
nished shelter for our bodies from the drifting, drizzling rain 
and snow. 

Later in the night the clouds which had hung so heavily 
around us all the day drifted away to the eastward; a pure 
cold breeze from the northwest soon stiffened the dripping 
blankets which had sheltered our heads. In the morning the 
ground was white with frost, and ice of no mean thickness 
had formed upon the water in the pockets. That day we tra- 
versed the plateau in the region of Split Mountain canyon, 
and in the afternoon, descended some 2,500 feet to the Green 
river where he had ordered our next camp. Here we found a 
new climate, and plenty of mosquitos that seemed ever joy- 
ful at our arrival and gave us a most cordial reception. But 
we failed to discover any camp. No smoke was visible, and 
we judged that our train had reached the river further down; 
so we attempted to pass southward. We, however, soon found 
our passage interrupted by lateral canyons coming in from 
the base of the mountain. We followed up these little gulches 
and wandered over the ledges of sandstone and amidst the 
scraggy cedars until the daylight faded into dusky night, and 
the bright sentinels of the sky lighted up the canopy above. 
We wandered on, still hoping to catch a glimpse of our camp 
fire which we knew could not be very far removed. But all 
our efforts were in vain. We found no camp, no supper, 
either, and no grass or water for our jaded horses. 

At length we called a halt, built a fire and de- 
cided to wait for the morrow's sunlight to aid us in 
our hitherto fruitless search. We hobbled our horses, 
cut branches from the craggy cedars and laid before 
the generous fire, and spread our saddle blankets for a 
couch. Our only provender was coffee — not a crumb to eat. 
Our coffee over, we laid us down to pleasant dreams. I slept 
soundly, for a long day's ride and rugged climbing made the 
evening's rest refreshing. 

The early dawn found us prospecting for our camp. We 
were evidently in the same case as the Indian who said, with 
much earnestness and force, "Indian no lost. Wigwam lost." 
We knew where we were, but our camp was lost. We drank 
our coffee without the usual accompaniments, and were soon 
on our way. Fortunately, we came upon some well filled poc- 


kets in the rocks from which our horses quenched their 
thirst. We rode until ten in the morning but found no camp. 

Then, separating, we made a circuit of the broken plain be- 
tween the base of the mountain and the river, the Major go- 
ing to the south and I to the north, agreeing to meet at a cer- 
tain spur near the mountain. About 12 o'clock I came upon 
our train. They had mistaken our directions and attempted 
to descend from the plateau too far toward the south where 
they came upon an almost impassable declivity, and being 
thus delayed, they had failed to reach the river ere the night 
closed in upon them. So they were compelled to camp at the 
foot of the mountain and wait for the coming day. In passing 
down the mountain one of the animals lost its footing and 
tumbled off a ledge, falling full 50 feet. The pack was scat- 
tered far and near, and the animal, though not killed out- 
right, was entirely unfit for service. We left it where there 
was excellent water and grass and directed a ranchman near 
by to care for it. Taking a lunch from one of the party 
I directed them to the river to camp and continued my jour- 
ney to the point where I had engaged to meet the Major. 
He soon put in his appearance, and, at a beautiful spring, 
we rested and gave our faithful horses the freedom of the 
grassy vale for an hour. Then mounting, we followed our 
train to camp. 

I have often fallen into a kind of reverie in regard to the 
origin of names. And I have wondered why certain places 
and persons and things received the appellations which have 
become so wedded to the objects that to mentally divorce 
them is next to impossible. I doubt not that when the names 
were given there was a sufficient reason for bestowing every 
name by which the legions of thinking objects are now 
known. But, in most instances, while the name remains, the 
attending circumstances which rendered the name expres- 
sive and appropriate, have faded from history's page. A lit- 
tle personal experience will afford a pleasing and apt illus- 
tration. In our explorations we uniformly applied the names 
by which objects are known to the Indians or settlers wher- 
ever those names could be determined. But frequently we 
came upon canyons, streams and peaks which, so far as we 
were able to learn, were unnamed; and, in such a case, it 
came within the province of our work to assign names. 

1874 125 

We had just taken our noon lunch by the side of a beau- 
tiful spring brook which flowed through a valley richly car- 
peted with green, and, as we mounted and rode away, the 
Major said, "We must have a name for this valley and 
stream." While we were ransacking the garret of memory 
for some uncommon word, a red fox jumped from his hid- 
ing place among the sage brush and galloped away far be- 
yond the range of our repeaters. This little circum- 
stance fixed the name, and Fox creek and Fox valley will 
be known to the coming generations long after the trifling 
incident which conferred the name is forgotten. 

At another time our cook went out to secure some fresh 
meat. He wounded an antelope and then succeeded in 
driving it down into a canyon, just below our camp. From 
a cliff above he fired several shots but failed to bring 
it down. Being severely wounded, it sought the cover of 
a bunch of willows, and while thus secluded, the cook 
descended the cliff, and creeping stealthily upon the unsus- 
pecting animal, he suddenly sprang upon it, and, in a hand 
to hand struggle, succeeded in its capture. Coming into camp 
covered with the gore of his prey, and rehearsing the excit- 
ing struggle in which he had come off victorious, we named 
the scene of the battle "Antelope Canyon." 

One afternoon we descended from a cliff to the plain be- 
low and came upon a clear stream of excellent water just be- 
low Split Mountain canyon. While searching for a name we 
suddenly discovered a track of old Bruin, and the Major sug- 
gested "Bear's Run." But before the name had been record- 
ed we saw the tracks of two cubs along the trail, which dis- 
covery awarded the name "Cub Gulch." 

One more must suffice. I had climbed a precipitous cliff 
of Uintah sandstone, too steep for my horse to accompany 
me, and, at an altitude of 8,000 feet, I stood on a 
chimney rock the crest of which did not exceed six feet in 
width. On the north the ascent was barely possible, on the 
south the ledge formed a perpendicular wall for at least 50 
feet. I raised a block of sandstone and struck it upon 
the ledge to break some pieces with which to adjust my in- 
strument. As I made the stroke the stone broke in my hand 
and a sharp corner split my finger to the bone. At that alti- 
tude the blood flowed profusely, and I hastily wrapped my 
handkerchief about the disabled member. I had climbed too 


high to lose the labor of the hour, and to complete my obser- 
vation, I made the record with my left hand in hieroglyphics 
which resembled Chinese characters more than those of our 
mother tongue. But if the copyist does his duty the map of 
the Green river region will bear upon its face the very suc- 
cinct history of that little incident in "Split-Finger Cliff." 

At Dodd's ranch, on Ashley's Fork, I reluctantly parted 
company with the Major, and, taking Bruce and Layman, 
with rations for two weeks, started for Green River Station. 
The Major was to visit the Uintah Indian reservation and 
spend some time in the study of the Indian character and 
language before turning his steps homeward. 

Green River Station lay about 70 miles to the north of us, 
and on our way thither, we were to cross the Uintah mount- 
ain range. I was also to map a belt of territory about 10 miles 
wide bordering the Green River on the west side. Fourteen 
days was assigned as the time necessary to accomplish the 
journey and perform the work. But in 14 days my work at 
the Illinois Wesleyan University in Illinois would demand my 
personal supervision and presence. So, at the task I 
went with a will. Having a relay of horses, I could ride to the 
utmost extent of my own power of endurance. Each day, ear- 
ly and late found me in the saddle — for six days I took my 
midday lunch while hurrying from station to station, and, in 
just eight days, we were invited to dine with the gentlemanly 
landlord at Green River Station. I devoted the ninth day to 
work north of the station; and then left the field of exciting 
labor which had afforded me many hours of pleasure and a 
rich experience in the practical application of principles 
which for years I had taught in college halls, to again mingle 
in the busy circles of my own loved alma mater. 


Salt Lake City and Its Environs * 

Any pen sketch, however well executed, will place 
before the reader only an imperfect description of this re- 
markable place; and yet at the risk of repeating what others 
may have said, and still leaving vague impressions on the 
minds of those who read these lines I will begin with its lo- 

Salt Lake City is pleasantly situated at the foot of one 
of the spurs of the Wasatch Mountains, the northern limits 
extending on to the terrace or upland which unites the plain 
with the mountain. It is laid out regularly in blocks of 
ten acres each with wide streets, well shaded with trees of 
various kinds, the Willowleaf or Cottonwood and Locust pre- 
vailing. Along each street on either side flows a clear, cold 
stream of water from the mountain canyon with which the 
yards and gardens of the city are irrigated. The streets are 
dusty most of the year, because of the limited fall of rain. 
The city is destitute of sidewalks, the place where they 
should be being covered with a kind of conglomerate of cob- 
ble stones, gravel, sand and dust. These dusty streets and 
sidewalks are however made endurable to a certain extent 
partly by regular street sprinklers, and partly by individu- 
als, who from time to time, with a force pump and hose at- 
tached, distribute the water over the parched and dusty 
ground; or if less fortunate, with a common tin cup, dipper 
or scoop shovel the same result is accomplished by dipping 
water from the rippling brook which passes every door. 

Most of the houses were formerly constructed of adobes, 
or sunburnt brick which gave the place the appearance of an 
old Spanish town, but more recently lumber and kilnburnt 
brick are frequently used and the place begins to assume the 
appearance of a modern city. There are some elegant resi- 
dences here surrounded with beautiful lawns and luxuriant 
flower gardens, vieing, in thrift and beauty, those of 
the tropical clime. Some of the most handsome buildings are 

1 This is evidently the "jottings for our August issue" (Vol. 1, Aug., 
1872) which the co-editor of the Journal mentions in the July Editorial 
Notes, from Prof. DeMotte. 



lathed and plastered outside as well as inside, the climate 
being sufficiently dry for the plaster to last for years. The 
buildings, however, are rarely more than two stories high, 
owing to the insecurity of high walls constructed with 
the soft sunburnt brick. These adobes, resembling in color 
the blue clay of Illinois, vary somewhat in size but usually 
are about 10 inches long, four inches wide and three inches 
thick, and when nicely placed in walls make a very respect- 
able home for either "Saint" or "Gentile." 

The Tabernacle: This immense nondescript, for it can- 
not to be likened to any other work of man on the face of the 
globe, is the first to attract attention upon entering the city. 
It is an oblong structure elliptical in form, 250 feet in length 
from east to west and 150 feet wide. From 46 columns of cut 
sandstone, which, with the spaces between that are used for 
doors and windows, form the wall, springs the roof in one 
unbroken arch. These sandstone columns are about 20 feet 
high and the ceiling of the roof in the center is 65 feet above 
the floor. In this immense semi-ellipoid, or egg shaped room, 
at the west end is an elevated stage for the "chief priest and 
elders of the synagogue" and the choir, back of which 
is placed an organ, made from wood brought from the adja- 
cent mountain. The organ is not quite completed yet. It is 
highly ornamental in style of finish and is the second organ 
in size in America. 

The whole building is seated with regular church pews 
made of pine lumber unpainted, and placed compact- 
ly together, so that, with the gallery which extends along the 
two sides and across the east end, 13,000 people can be 
seated in this tabernacle. These are large figures and some 
have placed the estimated capacity of this room at 8,000, but 
allowing 4% square feet to the person, the ground floor, 
making no allowance for waste of room, will acommodate 
8,333. The gallery is very deep and closely seated, so I am 
inclined to think the first statement is not far beyond 
the truth. The superintendent of the building and grounds in- 
formed me that there had been congregated in this room at 
one time 14,500 souls. And yet such is the convenience of in- 
gress and egress through the many doors which are distrib- 
uted on all sides that this immense concourse of people can 
vacate the room in three minutes. The tabernacle stands 
upon what is known as Temple Square. 


This square which is the usual size, containing ten acres, 
is surrounded by a wall from 12 to 15 feet high. Its base is 
cut sandstone upon which is built an adobe wall covered with 
plaster and neatly capped with stone. 

Upon this block of ground is also found the old ta- 
bernacle still used in part, for public services. On the same 
square just east of the tabernacle is the foundation of the 
Temple. Its size is 99x186% feet and though not so large as 
the tabernacle, yet the massive foundation built of nicely cut 
granite gives it an imposing appearance and if the "Saints" 
complete the work, as is now their intention, it will be one of 
the most magnificent and most costly structures on the con- 
tinent. I am told that already $1,250,000 has been expended 
in the enterprise, a statement for the truth of which I will 
not vouch. Its estimated cost when completed is $10,000,000. 
Upon the southeast corner of this square in a little inferior 
building is the transit instrument and chronometer. These in- 
struments were placed here by the U.S. government and the 
Mormon authorities now have the care of them. Directly to 
the east on the adjoining square is Brigham's Harem. 

I mean no disrespect to the "peculiar institution" 
by speaking thus of the President's home — I only give ex- 
pression to my first thought upon beholding the inclosure. 
I say inclosure, for the square is also surrounded with a wall 
about ten feet high built of cobblestones and mortar. Within 
this inclosure lives the President of this deluded people. A 
number of houses may be seen in various parts which furnish 
accommodations for his numerous family. I am informed 
that at present his wives number 16 and his sons and daugh- 
ters about 80, though some say that no one save Brigham 
himself knows the exact number composing his family. 

On the southeast corner of this same block is the tithing 
grounds, the place where the tenth of the yearly increase of 
wordly goods must be delivered to the church. Some of the 
more wealthy have refused to pay tithing and are cut off, 
as apostates, from the church. In addition to these grounds 
the President owns a great deal of property in this and other 
places in the territory. 

Camp Douglas: This U.S. military post is located one 
mile east of the city limits, upon a sloping upland at the foot 
of the mountain, 650 feet above the level of the city. The Gov- 
ernment here has a reservation of two miles square. 


The camp is regularly laid out, and with its parade ground 
surrounded with neat log houses, which serve as company 
quarters, it presents a very cheerful and pleasing appear- 
ance. We had the pleasure of meeting the gentlemanly com- 
mander of the post, Gen. Morrow, who is also in command 
of some other posts in the territory. The General is not only 
a military man but is quite a scientist and takes great in- 
terest in the exploration of these western wilds. 

Among the natural curiosities found here are the Warm 
and Hot Springs. The first is located one mile north of 
the city where are the city baths. These are the dis- 
puted springs, to obtain which for the use of the city, 
it is supposed by many, Dr. Robinson was murdered by the 
Mormons. Two miles further to the north are the Hot 
Springs, said to be similar in quality to the first named but 
much warmer. Here the water boils out at the foot of a rock, 
where a sloping spur of the mountain strikes the plain, in a 
large volume, forming a stream several feet wide, with a 
depth of six or eight inches. The water upon issuing from the 
rock is said to be hot enough to boil an egg in four minutes, 
but as I have not tried the experiment, I cannot vouch for the 
truth of the statement. 

There are many other points of interest of which 
one might speak, such as the people, their habits, so- 
cial, civil, political and religious life, commercial interests 
of "Saint" and "Gentile", indeed, enough remains to fill a 
volume, but I forbear at present. (H. C. DeMotte) 

In 1874, Mrs. DeMotte accompanied her husband to Salt Lake City 
and her observations of the Mormon capital were printed in the Alumni 
Journal, November, 1876, as follows: 

During her visit in the West, Mrs. D. had frequent op- 
portunities of catching glimpses of Utah scenery and Mor- 
mon life, occasionally, a view of the latter behind the scenes. 
The following stray leaves from her journal may not be 
without interest: 

Entering Utah we are soon interested in observing the 
farms and the methods of irrigation. It looks strange to us 
to see men and women with hoes opening little ditches and 
thus distributing water through their cornfields and gardens. 
We soon learn to count the number of outside doors (also) 


as we have been assured that there is always at least one 
wife for every outside door. 

Between Green river and Salt Lake City we have by far 
the finest scenery on the route. Passing through Echo and 
Weber canyons is a journey never to be forgotten. The Thou- 
sand Mile Tree, Devil's Slide, and Devil's Gate are wonder- 
ful, but far more wonderful to me are the stupendous walls 
of rock rising almost perpendicular on either side several 
thousand feet high. Immense boulders of every conceivable 
form are piled along the way, giving the whole a most 
romantic and fantastic appearance. During the day (on the 
train) we have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance 
of Mrs. Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of the great Mormon 
leader. She is returning to visit her parents and friends at 
Salt Lake City, after her lecturing tour through the United 

July 15th we awake to find ourselves in the far off City 
of the Saints, and being surrounded at the Walker House by 
everything both comfortable and elegant, we are soon ready 
to begin the delightful task of "doing the city." Surrounded 
as it is, almost entirely by mountains upon the summit of 
which the crystal snow gleams in the bright sunlight 
throughout the entire year, we are impressed with the ap- 
propriateness of the location for a people so entirely 
set apart from all others. 

We do not wonder that the little band of foot sore and 
weary wanderers, coming through Emigrant canyon and 
catching sight of this valley so completely hemmed in, de- 
cided that this should be the land of their habitation, and that 
here they would build a city which should be a Zion 
to all their followers. Twenty-seven years have elapsed only 
since that eventful day and now we see, largely as the fruits 
of their labor, a city of 25,000 inhabitants. 

Among the places of interest likely to attract the atten- 
tion of visitors are the Tabernacle, a monstrous egg shaped 
building, with a capacity for seating 13,000 people; the new 
Tabernacle now in process of erection; Brigham Young's 
residence with numerous buildings adjoining, all surrounded 
by a high wall; the Museum, which contains, besides many 
curious and interesting specimens, samples of all the produc- 
tions and manufactories of Utah; the Hot Springs, north of 
the city about three miles, having a temperature of about 120 


degrees, gushing out from under a great rock and strongly- 
impregnated with sulphur; the Warm Springs, nearer 
the city, with a temperature of 90 degrees; the large Zion's 
Co-operative Mercantile Institute, with its peculiar sign 
"Z.M.C.I.", "Holiness to the Lord"; and last, but not least, 
the palatial residence now being built for Amelia, the favor- 
ite wife of Brigham. This latter is not the only place of in- 
terest to sightseers, but, I doubt not, a place of envy to at 
least 20 other less favored wives. 

An inside view of Mormon life may be of interest 
to some. So let us begin by calling upon the great apostle 
himself. In company with Prof, and Mrs. Thompson we had 
the pleasure (better and truer, enjoyed the novelty) of ex- 
changing greetings with the world renowned polygamist, 
Brigham Young. We found him a hale, hearty old man, cour- 
teous, polite, talkative, obliging — in fact, to all appearances 
— a gentleman. We noted hastily the belongings of the room 
— furniture, black walnut, plainly upholstered in dark brown 
rep, Brussels carpet of the same color, bookcase well filled 
with Mormon literature, walls hung with pictures, consisting 
mostly of portraits of the 12 apostles and prominent leaders 
in the church. We could not banish the thought that all he 
needed to convert his room into a portrait gallery were the 
pictures of his 21 wives. 

Upon another occasion we called upon President Smith, 
and truly a novel call it was. Ringing the bell we were met 
by Mrs. Smith No. 1, a middle aged, sprightly, good looking 
woman, who invited us in and introduced us to Louisa, Mrs. 
Smith No. 2, a young healthy looking lady of perhaps 
24 years, who was busily engaged in quilting. Two 
bright eyed little girls, children of Louisa, were playing in 
the room. The two wives seemed obliging and kind to each 
other, and we were just beginning to philosophize upon the 
extraordinary amiability of Utah women, when our reverie 
was interrupted by the entrance of an old woman of at least 
70 summers. Her brow was deeply furrowed by the plough 
share of time, and her frame was bent with the weight of 
years. Though clad in the homeliest garb, she was kindly re- 
ceived and presented as Caroline, also Mrs. Smith. 

Laying aside a bonnet which readily suggested the one 
worn by Mrs. Noah when she embarked on that eventful voy- 
age of 150 days, she drew from a great cloak reticule at her 


side a pair of spectacles which she carefully wiped with her 
voluminous purple calico apron, and, adjusting them with 
much precision, she announced herself ready for business, 
remarking, "I know'd you'uns was a' quiltin', and though 
I'm not much account since I had the rheumatiz, I reckoned 
I mought help a mite." The quilt was speedily adjusted to 
accommodate her failing sight, and all three were soon 
busily engaged in work and lively conversation. We were es- 
pecially interested in the conversation, which was principal- 
ly in regard to the health of the families of Mary and Fannie 
and Jane and Caroline and, indeed, all the five co-sharers of 
the one President Smith's provident care and affection. 

But we were eye-witnesses to still another phase of Mor- 
mon life. Calling at the residence of Mr. M., a promi- 
nent member of the Mormon Church, but who, as I had been 
informed, was bitterly opposed to polygamy and lived most 
happily with his one beautiful and accomplished wife, I was 
presented to Mrs. M., a lady of most graceful bearing, ex- 
quisite form and feature, tastefully attired in black, beauti- 
ful as a picture, but oh, how sad. From beneath the 
lofty, pure white brow her great, lustrous black eyes shone 
out as from under the shadow of a great grief. Grasping her 
hand, my friend (perhaps Ann Eliza — Ed.) remarked, 
"Why, Mrs. M., how changed you are!" With a significant 
glance toward two other women seated in the distant part of 
the room, she replied, "I have had enough to change me." 
The story was soon told. The elders in the church, not liking 
the influence of her husband's example (or, perhaps, envy- 
ing him his happy home), had received a revelation that in 
order to secure his eternal happiness he must take another 
wife. Poor, deluded woman, what could she do? There was 
but one alternative; by her own wickedness (as they were 
pleased to term it) doom her husband to eternal punishment 
or consent to go through life sharing the affections of him 
she idolized, her own heart broken by this great sorrow and 
her prospects for happiness in this life forever blasted. 

From Mrs. S., the first wife of one of the richest men in 
the kingdom, said to be second only to Brigham in influence 
and importance, we learned the following interesting and sig- 
nificant facts; coming to Salt Lake City in its early history, 
a willing convert to Mormonism, but entirely ignorant of the 
doctrine of polygamy, she lived with her beloved husband 


and two children in peace and happiness for about six 
months, when one day she was shocked and almost crazed 
by the announcement that another wife was to be taken and 
brought into their hitherto happy home. In vain she wept, 
prayed, pleaded, and reminded him of his solemn marriage 
vows, and his plighted faith at the hymeneal altar in "Bon- 
nie Scotland." In vain she urged that for his undivided love 
she had left her friends and early home and come into this 
wild and desolate land. Nothing could avert the dire 
calamity, and when the fatal day dawned, bringing with it 
the second of the now nine Mrs. S's, her passion knew 
no bounds, and she threatened the life of the disturber of her 
former joys. For this threat her husband separated her from 
her children, took her to a distant part of the city, confined 
her in a room and furnished her a diet of bread and water 
for a period of three weeks. She added, "the agony of those 
weeks can never be described." Knowing that the lunatic 
asylum and a life long separation from her children would 
be her lot if she did not yield to the demands of her former 
husband, now her tormentor, she finally promised to sub- 
scribe to the doctrine of polygamy, and treat the usurper, at 
least, with toleration. She closed her story with the remark 
that it was a great mercy the Lord did not strike her dead 
when she was so bitterly opposing His divine commands, and 
setting up her own will and personal preference against His 
revelation to His prophets. 

No wonder that the better feelings of the Mormon wom- 
en are so entirely destroyed when so prominent in their re- 
ligion is that great abomination. Teaching, as they do, that 
a woman's salvation depends entirely upon her hus- 
band, that an unmarried women can never enter the Mor- 
mon's Heaven, it is not so strange that women consent to be- 
come the ninth, or, even, the 19th wife of some self-consti- 
tuted lord of creation. Let us be thankful that this most ob- 
jectionable feature of the Mormon faith can not long with- 
stand the opposition which it meets as the spirit of an 
enlightened civilization is developed among the people. 

September, 1874 issue, Alumni Journal: Notes By The 
Way. H. C. DeMotte. 

Salt Lake City is a marvel no less in its social, moral and 
religious life and character than in its material resources. 


To one who in years gone by was accustomed to view the 
valley as a rainless desert, wholly unfit for habitation, the 
teeming orchards and flowery gardens of this "city of the 
plain" must appear in strange contrast with its former deso- 
lation, and the genial showers, which during the past week 
have so plentifully dispensed their blessings, may be only the 
beginning of better days in the valley. So in a place 
and among a people where not many years ago the life of a 
gentile was by no means safe, especially if he dared to utter 
an opinion contrary to the words of the "prophet", it 
is a source of pleasure to be able to speak freely and fully 
on all questions pertaining to all the "peculiar institution", 
and to enjoy all the religious privileges which would be guar- 
anteed to anyone in any part of the Union. 

If one spends a Sabbath in Salt Lake City he can have 
the pleasure of attending an Evangelical Church and hear- 
ing the Gospel preached in its simplicity and purity. On the 
19th of July (1874) I had the good fortune to hear Bishop Mer- 
rill deliver a discourse in the Methodist Church and in the 
evening I attended the Congregational Church and heard an 
excellent sermon by Rev. Barrows, the pastor of that church. 

A few notes in relation to Methodism in Salt Lake City 
may be of interest. Our Church has begun a fine edi- 
fice which, when completed, will cost about $50,000. The 
basement has been completed and furnished in a plain sub- 
stantial manner, at a cost of $17,500, and efforts are being 
made now to inclose the building this season. Most of 
the means necessary have been secured, and the pas- 
tor, Bro. Stratton, is quite hopeful in reference to the speedy 
completion of the work. Our membership now numbers 
about 100 and is steadily increasing. A Sabbath school is in 
successful operation, numbering between 100 and 200. It is 
under the efficient superintendency of Sister May, an enthu- 
siastic and successful laborer in this department of 
our church work. 

The Protestant churches and schools are supported and 
patronized almost wholly by Gentiles and apostate Mormons. 
These latter are quite enthusiastic sometimes in their advo- 
cacy of the Protestant faith. Some of them give liberally of 
their means for the erection of churches and the support of 
the ministry. The Walder brothers have already given $1,000 
to the fund for the erection of the Methodist church, and 


will probably aid the enterprise still more ere it is finished. 
Our church also has an excellent day school, numbering about 
200, which is held in the basement of the church. It is under 
the supervision of Prof. Stein, who is doing a good work here 
for the cause of true education. 

Too much importance cannot be attached to the work 
being accomplished by these brethren, and the success of 
evangelical religion and Christian education in Utah will have 
much to do in ridding our country of the curse which so long 
has been fostered and sustained by Mormonism. 

I am persuaded that but little is known by the great mass 
of the American people of the peculiar manners, customs and 
faith of the "Latter-Day Saints", and those who do know 
something of their doctrine really fail to completely compre- 
hend the situation or appreciate the utter disloyalty of this 
sect, not only to many of the principles of enlightened civili- 
zation, but to the government under whose protection they 
now dwell in peace and safety. 

A sketch of a day in the Tabernacle may be of interest. 
The new Tabernacle having been decorated and especially 
prepared for the grand Sunday school jubilee, held on July 
24, was not opened for service. Accordingly the audience 
gathered in the old Tabernacle, situated on the southwest 
corner of Temple Square. The room, which is a semi-ellip- 
soid, probably 60 or 70 feet wide, and thrice as long, was 
crowded with a strange admixture of humanity. Young 
and old of all nationalities were stowed away in the hetero- 
geneous mass. A special section of seats in front of the stand 
was reserved for the gentiles and with an instinct and saga- 
city truly marvelous the ushers separated the sheep from 
the goats. A gentile was recognized immediately upon en- 
tering, and was politely shown a seat in the space set apart 
for the reprobates. The service was introduced by singing, 
in which none but the choir seemed to join. Prayer was of- 
fered by one of the bishops, in which thanksgiving and grati- 
tude were expressed for the special divine favor manifested 
in giving the saints a home in the mountain vales, concluding 
with a petition for Brigham, the servant of the Lord, for the 
general prosperity of Zion, and especially for the mis- 
sionaries in this and foreign lands. After prayer the familiar 
hymn commencing, "Twas on that dark and doleful night," 
was sung by the choir and during the singing the bread for 


the sacrament was broken by six of the bishops. A short 
prayer consecrating the bread was offered, and Orson Pratt, 
who is said to carry the brains of the Mormon Church, then 
arose and announced as his text Daniel's prophecy in regard 
to the stone that was cut out of the mountain. Those appoint- 
ed to that work began a distribution of the bread through the 
audience, passing it in silver baskets, while Brother Pratt 
proceeded with his sermon. After the bread had been dis- 
tributed, the speaker gave way long enough for the prayer 
consecrating the water used instead of wine in the sacra- 
ment, and then proceeded with his discourse while the water 
was passed in 12 silver vessels. The introductory portion of 
the sermon was an explanation of the wonderful dream of 
the king and Daniel's interpretation. The speaker accepted 
the usual explanation of the prophecy as to the various king- 
doms referred to, representing that the present age of the 
world is aptly symbolized by the feet and toes which the 
stone cut out of the mountain, without hands, is to fall upon. 
He then passed to the vision of John, recorded in Revela- 
tions, and professed to explain the principles of the new 
kingdom which is to be set up in the world. He stated that 
the Church of Christ, as organized in the days of His incar- 
nation, was to be overcome, and that a new church was to 
be established. Some of the cardinal principles of this new 
church must be, repentance, faith in Christ, baptism for the 
remission of sins and gifts. These gifts include prophecy, 
healing, etc., all of which he emphatically declared the true 
Latter Day Saint to be in possession of. He then proceeded 
to show, to the satisfaction of his dupes I suppose, that 
Babylon, the great mystery which is mentioned in Revela- 
tions, is the Christian Church of the present day — and that 
it is utterly corrupt and the source of all manner of abomi- 
nations and that the Church of the Latter Day Saints is to dis- 
ciple all who will hear the gospel according to the Book of 
Mormon, but that to those who refuse to heed the call the 
Lord will come in vengeance and sweep them with the 
broom of destruction to the lowest perdition. 

He then pictured in glowing colors how aptly and perfect- 
ly the Mormon Church represented the stone cut out of the 
mountain, closing by expressing his unwavering faith in the 
prophecy that this stone is to roll down out of the mountain 
and fill the whole earth. He spoke with much fervor and ear- 


nestness of the return of the people to Jackson county, Mis- 
souri, where, acording to one of their prophecies, the great 
central city of Zion is to be built. As to the time when this is 
to be accomplished he professed to be ignorant, but said it 
was in the near future. The prophecy was given in 1832 and it 
declares that all of that generation shall not pass until these 
things be fulfilled. During the discourse numerous references 
were made to the persecution which their people have re- 
ceived and especially to the present corrupt condition of our 
government, and the certainty of its rapid decline and final 
overthrow. I forbear extended comment, but it does seem a 
marvel that people possessed of even a grain of com- 
mon sense can be so completely duped and led to 
believe such improbable falsehoods. I am further persuad- 
ed that for a nest of disloyalty and a hot bed of treason to our 
government, no other spot on the continent can bear any just 
comparison with the Mormon settlements of Utah. 

In strange contrast with the service above described 
was that of our own Church on the same day, the pas- 
tor, Rev. C. C. Stratton, officiating. Fidelity to truth, to the 
principles of our enlightened civilization, to the spirit and 
purity, as well as a fearless exposure of error in all its forms, 
characterized the services of the hour. At the close Mrs. Ann 
Eliza Young, whose lectures throughout the Union, in oppo- 
sition to the system of Mormonism, have already won for her 
an enviable reputation and placed her name on the roll of the 
world's defenders of truth and liberty, came forward and 
united with our Church. May God speed the day when the 
curse of Mormonism, whose cornerstone is laid in the gross- 
est sensualism, supported by a blind and ignorant religious 
superstition, may be forever banished from our otherwise 
free and happy land.